Essential oils contain powerful plant compounds that offer an incredible array of benefits both physically and mentally. Have you ever found yourself in a meeting or listening to a speech when you suddenly realize you have no idea what was just said because you’ve drifted off, thinking about your plans for the weekend, how you’re going to solve a particular problem or worrying about the future?
Many people find their mind wandering without even realizing it’s happening. Our modern times have made things even more fast-paced than ever, and all of those electronic gadgets interrupting us, it’s no wonder things like concentration and focus are hard to come by.
The good news is that certain essential oils offer properties that will boost your mental clarity, focus, and concentration so that you can improve performance at school, college, work and in your everyday life.
10 Essential Oils For Focus, Concentration & Mental Clarity & How To Use Them
1. Frankincense Essential Oil
Slightly fruity, earthy and spicy, Frankincense is an essential oil that’s been used for thousands of years. In fact in Biblical times, it was valued even more than gold. Experts believe the oil has the ability to actually transmit a message to the limbic system of the brain which influences the nervous system. This results in a host of benefits to the mind and body that includes reducing inflammation, battling cancer, relieving pain, strengthening the immune system, relieving anxiety and panic attacks and easing the effects of chronic stress. It’s also great for improving focus and distractions while boosting concentration.
While many people use frankincense mixed with other oils to create their special concoction for addressing specific health issues, to use it to promote mental clarity, better focus, and concentration, add a few drops to a bath just before bed, which induces relaxation and promotes a feeling of calm for a better night’s sleep. In the morning, add a few drops to a tissue, and inhale the scent. You may want to bring a bottle with you and inhale periodically throughout the day.
2. Lemon Essential Oil
Citrus oils like lemon are known to be very uplifting. Lemon not only helps to promote mental clarity, improve focus and concentration, but it’s great for boosting one’s mood and reducing the effects of stress. It’s especially helpful for those who have ADHD and tend to get stressed completing everyday tasks as it can induce a feeling of calm to make focusing easier. People with ADHD are more likely to have other issues like anxiety or depression, and some studies have found that lemon essential oil can help with this too as it aids in regulating dopamine and serotonin in the brain.
Lemon essential oil is great used in a room spray. Simply add a few drops to a spray bottle with water to create an environment that will help improve your focus, concentration, and mental clarity while increasing energy levels and uplifting your spirits at the same time.
3. Vetiver Essential Oil
Vetiver is native to India, and its essential oil has been used in traditional medicine in South Asia, Southeast Asia and West Africa for thousands of years. In India and Sri Lanka, it’s often called the “oil of tranquility.” It has an exotic, smoky, sweet fragrance, and a tranquil, grounding energy that’s known to help calm emotions and is frequently used in trauma to aid in self-awareness and stabilization
Traditionally it’s used as part of aromatherapy for relaxation and to help alleviate emotional stress, as well as panic attacks, trauma, anxiety, insomnia, and depression. Vetiver’s potent properties are great for relieving mental exhaustion while enhancing the ability to focus and concentrate. When it was used in a 2001 study focused on the effects for children with ADHD, after 30 days of inhaling it every day, symptoms were significantly decreased.
Vetiver can be used multiple ways, including simply holding a bottle under your nose. By rubbing it on your feet before going to bed, it can help you get better quality sleep, which also helps to improve mental clarity, focus, and concentration the next day. During the day, you may want to add a few drops of vetiver essential oil into a diffuser. Allow its scent to spread through the room – if the aroma is too earthy for you, you can add a couple drops of another essential oil, like lavender.
4. Lavender Essential Oil
Speaking of lavender, it’s one of the most versatile essential oils there is. It’s known to help improve focus and concentration, promote relaxation and a feeling of calm and regulate anxiety too. In fact, it’s one of the best oils for those battling anxiety. Research from Austria’s Medical University of Vienna found that a lavender oil preparation was able to decrease anxiety, working as well or even better than the synthetic medication Ativan.
Lavender essential oil has been used for centuries to help those who battle insomnia sleep well again. One study revealed that using it as part of aromatherapy may help to slow the activity of the nervous system, promoting relaxation and improving sleep quality. The herb actually reduces the heart rate and lowers blood pressure, putting one into a more relaxed state, which is why lavender flowers have even been approved for use as a tea to treat restlessness and insomnia in Germany.
The calming properties of lavender are also believed to help those with ADHD stay focused in addition to stabilizing one’s mood which can be especially helpful for those exhibiting hyperactivity symptoms.
Lavender essential oil can be applied topically, with 2 or 3 drops placed on the wrists, chest or back of the neck, or inhaled via a diffuser.
5. Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint is another one of the most popular essential oils. It’s been found to help stimulate mental clarity, improve focus, concentration, mental performance, and memory. 2012 research from the University of Cincinnati entitled The Effect of Peppermint on Memory Performance, showed that inhaling this fragrant oil can boost mental accuracy by as much as 28 percent. Another earlier UK study experienced similar findings when the experts measured the effects of peppermint essential oil on cognitive performances. They compared a group who inhaled the aroma of peppermint to a group who inhaled the scent of ylang-ylang. A third group received no exposure to any scent. Researchers discovered that peppermint enhanced alertness and memory, ylang-ylang actually impaired both, and those who received no scent were found to have little difference with either.
Peppermint oil is especially effective when used topically diluted in a carrier oil for a quick boost of energy throughout the day, and for improving focus, concentration and mental clarity. Another option is to carry around a small bottle with you and inhale as needed.
6. Clary Sage Essential Oil
Clary sage essential oil is steam distilled from the buds and leaves of the clary sage plant, a cousin to common garden sage. It’s native to Europe and is sometimes referred to as Muscatel Oil as it’s used to flavor muscatel wine. The herb has been used medicinally for centuries and was first described in writing in 4 BCE. Today, it’s known to be beneficial for treating depression, chronic stress and anxiety while helping to improve memory, concentration, focus and mental alertness.
Research in 2005 found that clary sage was able to enhance memory and cognition in patients with Alzheimer’s. The participants received single doses of the essential oil or a placebo, with those who received the clary sage reporting they felt calmer and more alert. In a separate clinical trial, the oil was found to improve mental alertness and offer cognitive support when inhaled.
To use clary sage oil, put a few drops in a diffuser, or inhale from the bottle or a tissue when needed.
7. Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary is a well-known herb that’s commonly used in the kitchen, but it offers a lot more than culinary use. Extracted from the fresh flowering tops through steam distillation, the herb’s soothing aroma can help to calm the mind, improve focus, battle stress and relieve anxiety.This evergreen herb native to Mediterranean countries has also been found in studies to improve cognition and mental alertness, and it may temporarily improve memory recall as well. For improving alertness, try combining it with lemon essential oil.
8. Sandalwood Essential Oil
Traditionally, sandalwood essential oil was used in religious ceremonies such as weddings and babies’ births in India. It continues to be used in religious ceremonies today as it’s aroma, a sweet, woodsy smell, offers mental clarity, particularly the type sought during meditation. it’s earned respect in many civilizations and religions, especially in Hinduism, where it is considered to be holy and is used in social and religious rituals. Its sedative effects help reduce inflammation, calm stress and anxiety, promote relaxation, and improve concentration, inner vision, and positive thinking.
Add 1 or 2 drops to a carrier oil like almond or coconut oil and apply to the back of the neck in the morning and at bedtime. Every morning, inhale for a few minutes too. Keep in mind that there are three varieties of sandalwood: avoid Australian sandalwood (Santalum Spicatum) as it does not provide the same health benefits, and Hawaiian sandalwood (Santalum ellipticum) as it is often more expensive without offering additional value. Indian sandalwood (Santalum Album), is considered to be the best and you can get it from here.
9. Patchouli Essential Oil
The top benefits of patchouli oil are stress relief, fighting depression and promoting a sense of calm and relaxation. Inhaling patchouli essential oil was found to decrease sympathetic activity (part of the nervous system responsible for regulating blood pressure, heart rate and the “fight or flight” response) by 40% in a 2002 study out of Japan. Addressing these factors during a stressful situation is believed to help improve focus and concentration.
Additionally, it’s been shown to relieve depression symptoms by filling one with hope, easing tension and lifting one’s mood as inhaling its scent has a positive effect on hormones, including stimulating the release of “happy” hormones like dopamine and serotonin. Its medicinal benefits, in general, can be attributed to the fact that it is an antidepressant, diuretic, antiphlogistic, antiseptic, tonic, aphrodisiac, astringent, febrifuge and sedative.
Use patchouli essential oil by adding a few drops of the oil to a warm bath in the evening and soaking in it to relieve anxiety and restore calm. Use during the day by applying topically, mixing 5 drops of the oil with a tablespoon of a carrier oil. Gently massage the mixture into your temples.
10. Cypress Essential Oil
Cypress was often used in ancient time for making sarcophagi for Egyptian mummies. The Greeks also utilized it for creating statues of their gods, due to the wood’s durability and resilience, which ultimately was the reason for the belief that it contained powerful protective forces that could be carried from life into death. The oil has a refreshing evergreen scent with balsamic undertones and is widely valued for its many medicinal properties today, thanks to its properties as an antiseptic, astringent, sedative, respiratory tonic and antispasmodic, among others.
As it’s also a diuretic, it can help detox the body, removing toxins and cleansing the liver. But arguably its top benefit is for improving one’s mental state, including mental clarity and the ability to focus and concentrate, is due to its sedative, calming effects that can also help to stimulate happier feelings.
As this essential oil is known to be very emotionally soothing and grounding, it’s excellent for use during meditation as it evokes a sense of calm while also improving focus and mental clarity. Add a few drops to a diffuser while meditating, or just enjoying breathing in the woodsy, slightly minty scent.
Synergistic Essential Oils
Synergy essential oils are ready-made blends of oils whereby two or more essential oils work together to create an effect that is greater than their individual parts. There are a number of synergy oils that have been developed specifically for the brain and to improve concentration, focus and mental clarity.
Clarity Synergy Blend – This is an ideal oil to use when working on any important task that requires clear and decisive mental activity.
Brain Aid Synergy Blend – A mix of mentally energizing oils that help to beat the feeling of “fogginess” in the mind. Perfect for an afternoon pick me up.
5 Ways To Use Essential Oils For Focus & Concentration
Apply Topically – Add 2-3 drops of essential oil to a teaspoon of carrier oil (you can see a full list of carrier oils here – but coconut, olive, jojoba and almond are some of the most popular) and apply to your skin.
Add To A Bath Or Use In The Shower – Add a couple of drops of essential oil to your bath or splash a few drops on your shower wall and allow the steam to spread the aroma.
Add A Few Drops To A Diffuser – An essential oil diffuser is a brilliant piece of kit that should be in every home. We recently reviewed five of the most popular and discovered this Plant Therapy AromaFuse Diffuser to be the best for most homes. Since the most important time for you to be focused usually happens at work while on a computer, this USB Mini Aroma Diffuser is a great solution. A similar size to a soda can, you can take it to work with you, plug in to your computer and use in the office.
Aromatherapy Room Spray – Add a few drops of essential oil to a glass spray bottle and fill with distilled water for an easy room spray. Alternatively, try this ready-made Ready Set Focus Aromatherapy Room & Body Mist.
Direct Inhalation – The most simple way to benefit from the above essential oils, is to directly inhale the scent at regular intervals throughout the day. Simply sniff straight from the bottle, add a drop or two to a tissue, or wear an aromatherapy necklace and regularly apply a drop of oil to the pads to enjoy the fragrance and mental benefits throughout the day.
Where To Buy Essential Oils
You will only experience the benefits of essential oils if you use a pure, unadulterated, additive free essential oil. Unfortunately a lot of oils on the market are poor quality using artificial fragrances and fillers. Our favorite suppliers of high quality and pure essential oils is Plant Therapy.
Plant Therapy sell a huge range of essential oils (including every one mentioned in this article). All the oils are affordably priced yet premium quality and they offer free shipping in the US and free returns for up to 90 days after purchase.