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6 Scents That Will Help You Relax, According to Aromatherapy Experts

Permission to treat yourself to a new candle, granted.

Between work, family, friends, and errands, finding moments of zen isn't easy. Even when we do have time for relaxation, our racing thoughts are often too close for comfort. But if there's one thing that can help us achieve a calmer state of mind, it's fragrance. For centuries, people have used the power of aromatherapy to improve their mental health, which is why we asked aromatherapists to share the best scents to help you relax. Read on for their recommendations, whether you diffuse them, add them to a bath, or light a candle.

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Bergamot citrus essential oil
iStock / leonori

This scent might be a bit bold, but it's still relaxing.

"Its light citrus fragrance helps to relax the body and mind, as well as helping to clear the mind and improve focus," says certified aromatherapist Alison Angold. "Bergamot is also good at relieving nervous conditions such as anxiety and depression."

However, one of Angold's favorite things about the scent is that it blends well with many other essential oils. "Mixed with a few drops of rosemary and a couple of drops of lavender, it creates a wonderful scent and a relaxing atmosphere." She suggests adding it to a diffuser or burner.



Angold describes this scent as warming and comforting. "It is particularly useful to use during meditation to help focus and relax the mind," she explains.

You might also utilize it during breathing exercises, your morning stretch routine, or even as you wind down with a book at night. Again, Angold recommends using a diffuser or burner to distribute the scent.

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Herbal chamomile tea and chamomile flowers
iStock / ValentynVolkov

Chamomile tea might already be a part of your stress-relief routine—and the corresponding scent should be, too.

"Chamomile has a calming impact on the neurological system, which aids in stress reduction and relaxation," says Caleb Backe, aromatherapy expert for Maple Holistics. "Chamomile's aroma can also aid in relaxing the senses and relieve stress, making it easier to fall and remain asleep."

To get the scent, Backe suggests finding a candle or adding chamomile essential oil to a diffuser. You can also put a few drops into your bathwater before a soak.


lavender essential oils
iStock / netrun78

Lavender is one of the best-known relaxing scents—and for good reason.

"When we inhale the fragrance of lavender, it can cause the brain to produce neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which serve to regulate mood and induce relaxation," says Backe. This can have a calming and relaxing impact on the body and mind.

According to Backe, there's science to back it up. "Lavender scent has also been found in studies to reduce heart rate, blood pressure, and levels of the stress hormone cortisol, all of which are physical signs of relaxation," he says. "Moreover, the lavender aroma has been shown to improve sleep quality and lessen anxiety and depression symptoms."

So, what's the best way to whiff this scent? Backe suggests candles, sachets, and diffusers. For sleep-promoting benefits, spritz your pillow before bed.

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This lesser-known scent, which is similar to Neroli, could also be great for your chill-out routine.

"It comes from the wood of the orange tree, so has a lovely woody, citrus scent and pairs well with many other oils," says Angold. "It is particularly good to soothe anxiety and sedate the nervous system, so it's ideal to use for relaxation."


A bottle of sandalwood essential oil with red sandalwood chips
iStock / Madeleine_Steinbach

Sandalwood is another warm and earthy scent that's commonly used during meditation. "It can also assist to alleviate tension and anxiety," says Backe.

Add it to your routine by burning sandalwood incense or putting sandalwood essential oils into a diffuser.

Juliana LaBianca
Juliana is an experienced features editor and writer. Read more
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