Aromatherapy Scents for Stress Relief

woman smelling aromatherapy oil bottle
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Aromatherapy has been shown to carry many benefits in terms of wellness and stress relief. A lavender sachet next to your bed or the smell of a scented candle can do wonders for relieving stress and help you unwind from your day.

Studies have shown that aromatherapy does indeed have an effect on brainwaves and can alter behavior. Not all scents are created equal, nor do they affect human physiology and behavior in the same ways.

Rosemary, lavender and the other scents listed below are the most popular aromatherapy scents used for stress relief. Within each description, look at their effects and suggestions on how to make the most of them, so you can match the right scent with your aromatherapy needs.


Rosemary is associated with feelings of contentment. It’s been shown to have positive effects on performance and mood.

Rosemary has also demonstrated the ability to reduce cortisol levels. This means that rosemary aromatherapy can be a good choice for de-stressing during the day when there is still work to be done.


Lavender is associated with feelings of contentment, improved cognitive performance (some measures), and mood. It has also shown other mild sedative and calming effects.

Lavender has been shown to reduce cortisol levels. It can soothe babies and new mothers alike and promote positive mother-infant interactions.

Lavender is often used to promote sleep in infants and deep sleep in men and women. This can be a great choice for anyone trying to relax for sleep or feel more calm and relaxed during the day.


Peppermint aromatherapy has been found to increase memory and alertness. It can provide a great pick-me-up for too-tired and too-busy people, stressed students, and the overworked.


Ylang-ylang has actually been found to decrease alertness, slightly lengthen processing speed, and impair memory. It has also been found to promote calmness and reduce stress, making it a good option for unwinding and de-stressing at the end of a long day.


Some research has shown that lemon oil may possess anti-depressant-type effects. It is a good choice for stress relief and mood enhancement as well.

Benefits of Other Scents

If there’s a scent that you like that isn’t on this list, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it can’t be useful for stress relief. The simple fact that it’s pleasing to you can put you in a different mood, so why not conduct your own research? If it seems to work for you, then by all means, use it.

If you find that its effects are not what you’d hoped for, there are plenty of other scents available. There are many scents that have been proven effective for relaxation, mood enhancement, alertness, deeper relaxation, and sleep, so you have many options from which to choose!

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