I Started Using Lavender for Stress Relief and Here’s What Happened

Whether you're a Type A like me or you just need some help chillaxing, lavender may be the drug-free solution you've been waiting for.

Lavender Essential OiliStock/grafvision

I have a Type A personality. I make endless checklists. I have just about every detail of my day planned out, starting from the moment I open my eyes. And most important, I need things done now, if they weren’t already done yesterday.

If you suspect that this leads to a lot of self-induced anxiety, and maybe one or more glasses of wine per night, you’d be right. So when a close family member recommended I try essential oils to help relieve stress, I assumed it was a waste of time. But with a little coercion, I was convinced to purchase a bottle of lavender essential oil.

Let me just say, it works.

For one thing, I take a deep inhalation when I smell the lavender, and that alone reduces feelings of anguish, studies show (so does rubbing it on your temples). Then there are the known stress-decimating properties of this botanical oil. The concept of using essentials oils for stress relief and other medicinal purposes has been around for centuries, giving people an alternative, holistic approach to treating various issues. For lavender, in particular, essential oils are extracted from the flowers of the lavender plant and put in little bottles or roller balls, like the one I purchased (with a healthy dose of skepticism) at my local Whole Foods.

I first tested it for myself as a sleep aid, during a restless night, where I was left staring at my bedroom ceiling and stressing about the next day’s activities. I reluctantly reached for the bottle of lavender at my bedside, took a deep whiff and laid back down. Something immediately happened, though, I’m not sure what. Was it just an expectation in my head, or did that one sniff fully relax my mind and body? It certainly was the latter, because soon enough, I wasn’t able to fall asleep without it, and went so far as rubbing a few drops of the oil on my pillow so I could keep smelling it throughout the night. To infuse your bedroom with essential oils—lavender or the oil of your choice, check out Art Naturals Essential Oil Diffuser, a portable device that sprays a fine mist of pure essential oil into the air, kind of like an aromatherapy humidifer.

I started carrying the lavender with me wherever I went to conquer spontaneous bouts of stress. During long days at work, or after an intense meeting, nothing helped calm my nerves and relax my mind quite like this fragrant aroma.

Lavender has been shown to also help with various skin irritations, headaches, and irregular blood sugar count. Read more about lavender’s healing powers. Though my Type A personality may be here to stay, the uneasy feelings and sleepless nights are certainly not, thanks to a few drops of purple magic.

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