10 Mood-Lifting Essential Oils That Are Instant Pick-Me-Ups

Updated: Jan. 14, 2021

As if shopping for beauty products alone didn't boost your spirits, now you can purchase beauty products with aromatherapeutic qualities that promise to perk you up in a pinch.

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If you’re in need of a refreshing mist or sniff that’s enough to boost your mood, focus, and energy levels, pick up some peppermint for a natural energy boost. Studies have linked peppermint essential oils to a reduction in heart rate and headaches, two side effects of high stress. “You can inhale the oil directly from the bottle (great if you work in an office with scent-sensitive people) or diffuse three drops of oil in water for an hour up to three times a day,” Maat van Uitert, essential oil expert, says. “It can also be used topically: Dilute one drop of oil in 1 tablespoon of coconut oil.” Just test a small area of skin to make sure you’re not allergic. Additionally, van Uitert recommends buying your oils from a reputable source to ensure purity. “Cheap oils might not be pure, and you won’t see the same effect.” Here are some other essential oils that will amp your energy levels.

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Jasmine is an one of the most calming essential oils—here are the others. It’s one that is often used during massages thanks to its ability to enhance relaxation and relieve tension. In addition, Kac Young, PhD, doctor of naturopathy and clinical hypnotherapy, says jasmine is known to soothe the nervous system, restore energy, have an uplifting effect on a tired body, boost self-confidence, and stimulate the respiratory system so you breathe better and easier. “This essential oil can even ease a coughing spell and promote a deep sense of calm to the one who inhales it.” Facing a tight deadline? Add a few drops of jasmine to the palms of your hand. Dr. Young suggests storing some jasmine in a personal pendant diffuser or water-based diffuser, which releases into the air around you. “Add six to seven drops to your diffuser and let it run for 20 minutes several times a day to keep yourself in balance,” recommends Dr. Young.

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This fragrant herb is a key ingredient in a variety of culinary favorites, but it can also be used as in essential oil form to ease emotions when you are feeling overwhelmed. “Dill automatically connects you to the earth with is grassy-pungent aroma and can also relieve muscle tensions,” explains Dr. Young. “I have diluted dill essential oil in a carrier oil and used it after straining a muscle during tennis. I was worried that I might smell like a pickle, but the odor dissipates quickly leaving nice relief in its path.” She also notes dill’s calmative properties—it releases tension in the neck and shoulders when inhaled and has a side effect of reducing fears. So the next time you know you’ll be in a worrisome or stressful situation, bring along some dill!

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Another delightful and delicious spice countless cultures use for everything from dinners, drinks and desserts to seasonal decorations and home decor, cinnamon possess a myriad of mood-boosting properties as well. Check out some of cinnamon’s other health-promoting benefits. “There is a reason realtors use it to create the comforting smell of home when they are selling a house,” Dr. Young says. “Cinnamon, with its tonic and aphrodisiac properties, brings a warm and soothing sensation to the body, and stimulates the senses with its powerful aroma.” For thousands of years, various cultures have used cinnamon to prevent the spread of bacteria. When you need an instant boost, cinnamon is sure to come in handy. Dr. Young recommends adding cinnamon to a pendant diffuser or inhaling it through the use of a water diffuser. Just be careful when using cinnamon around children, as they are super sensitive to its potency. “And do not use cinnamon bark oil because it is highly concentrated and should only be used by a professional and certified aromatherapist.”

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There’s more to this essential oil than one would think from its quirky name—in fact, it can also be part of your beauty routine. “Ylang-ylang is derived from cananga tree and has miraculously uplifting qualities,” notes Dr. Young. “And, because it such a powerful aroma, it transports you from one emotional state to another very quickly.” Dr. Young has a lava rock bead bracelet that he soaks in a dilution of a carrier oil and ylang-ylang and wears everywhere, from yoga and board meetings. “The scent relaxes my body no matter what situation I find myself in,” she adds. “The exotic, sweet smell calms the body by helping to reduce blood pressure, calms a rapid heartbeat and eases shock and anxiety.” Research has also found ylang-ylang to be successful in reducing the occurrence of panic attacks, due to its antispasmodic and nervine properties, which means its a great travel companion for those who have a fear of flying!

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Battling bouts of bad moods? Add a few drops of lemon essential oil to your diffuser or palm of your hand: “Lemon is a sense awakener and it clarifies the mind, dispels anger and provides a sense of new energy,” says Dr. Young. “It’s like a breath of fresh air in a stuffy room.” Lemon is also antibacterial and a stimulant, which means it has natural purification properties built in. “I carry lemon essential oil with me for several purposes, from a quick pick-me-up to an on-the-go sanitizer,” says Dr. Young. “It can ward off everything, such as symptoms of the common cold or even the flu.” He recommends using it in a pendant diffuser or water diffuser to act like a cheerleader in stressful or overwhelming moments. Here’s why you should keep a lemon on your nightstand.

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Similarly to lemon, orange essential oil’s citrus properties makes it emotionally and spiritually uplifting. “The major chemical constituent is limonene, which has been shown to reduce anxiety, lower heart rate and ease stress,” van Uitert adds. “Orange can be used topically or inhaled for aromatherapy right from the bottle or you can diffuse one drop in a diffuser.” He also recommends ingesting it, perhaps by squirting a drop of the stuff in eight ounces of water and sipping to your heart’s delight.

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There’s a reason this perennial flowering plant makes it’s way into many skincare and beauty products. Not only is it incredibly fragrant, but it’s known to offer a slew of mood-boosting benefits. One study, published in the journal of Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice found that rose oil significantly increased depression scores, specifically in women who had recently given birth. Other studies linked rose oil to a reduction in the hormone adrenaline. “Rose oil is mild and can be used topically several times a day, but it’s also great in a warm bath,” says van Uitert. “Add 2-3 drops to your bath water and enjoy the aroma!”

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Black pepper

Another great mood-enhancer and attitude-shifter? Unsurprisingly one of the most popular condiments used worldwide. “This essential oil is good for use as a digestive and tonic for the spleen,” says Dr. Young. “It is also an antispasmodic and works as an appetite suppressant.” For this reason, black pepper is a great culinary choice for dieters. She recommends using black pepper essential oil when you need to warm your body and get your internal body juices flowing, as it stimulates the kidney and gets rid of chills, fast. As with clove and tea tree oils, black pepper essential oil is very powerful. Dr. Young suggests using it with caution and respect, especially if you’re pregnant. Check out these other weird benefits of black pepper that have nothing to do with cooking.

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Often referenced as the “king of essential oils,” for its variety of uses and benefits, frankincense is known to be a mood enhancer and energy increaser. “It positively stimulates your brain’s limbic system, which is the part of your brain that controls emotions,” says van Uitert. “For energy, it’s best to use Frankincense topically, mixing up to four drops of Frankincense with one tablespoon of coconut oil and apply to your temples, proactively or during times of stress.”