The Best Essential Oils for Promoting Happiness | Nikura

8 min read / 15 March 2024 / yasmin sharp

The Best Essential Oils for Promoting Happiness

Discover the uplifting power of essential oils and their ability to promote happiness and well-being in your life.


Essential oils have been used for centuries to combat a whole manner of ailments and conditions, including those that affect our emotional wellbeing.

Creating a little joy can be tricky, but engaging the olfactory system in the right way is definitely a good place to start.

For some, essential oils can literally be happiness in a bottle, creating a transformative feeling that alleviates stress and anxiety to put them in a happier space mentally.

We make the search for the best essential oils for happiness a little easier in this article, giving you some insight about their effectiveness and how to use them.

Can essential oils help you to feel happier?

The olfactory system, which controls our sense of smell, has a big role to play in how we feel throughout the day.

When we come into contact with unwanted or unpleasant smells, they can quickly put a dampener on a bright mood.

Likewise, a more welcoming scent can make all the difference to how we look and see the world at that moment.

Some aromas trigger powerful emotional responses and evoke treasured memories, which also affects our well-being.

When you inhale an essential oil, the olfactory receptors are stimulated, instantly sending signals to the limbic system in our brain, which is linked to our memory, emotions and behaviour.

There is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that using essential oils can give you a mood boost, and as we explain in more detail below, there is no shortage of scientific studies that suggest the same.

Of course, happiness is highly subjective and where one essential oil can help to boost your mood, you may find that others are not as effective.

It may involve a little bit of trial and error along the way, but once you take a step into the world of essential oils, it could make all the difference.

Happy woman sat on a chair

What are the best citrus essential oils for happiness?

If you’re a fan of citrus essential oils, then you may want to try some of the below for a pick-me-up:

Bergamot oil can give you a much-needed boost

Bergamot essential oil is bright and perky and packs a pleasant punch.

Research has also found that the scent can have a positive effect on a variety of physiological symptoms experienced by patients with depression, including their breathing rates, pulse rates and blood pressure.

In addition, the oil improved certain emotional markers and left them with a more positive state of mind.

Learn more about the benefits of bergamot oil.

Sweet orange oil is good for combatting stress

Sweet orange essential oil is a reliable go-to for many people who want to give themselves a lift.

The world of science has looked at why the scent generates such a positive feel, finding that when it was diffused, participants in the study saw their stress hormone levels lowered. 

When the oil was used in an animal study in 2019, the results suggested that it could produce antidepressant effects. 

Learn more about the benefits of orange essential oil.

Mandarin oil can put you in a brighter state of mind

Even though mandarin essential oil is one of the gentler members of the citrus family, it can still have a powerful effect, with its sweet, uplifting scent helping to uplift emotions.

Researchers used the oil in a 2008 study, finding that mandarin was able to prevent anxiety-related sleep and promote healthy sleeping patterns, helping participants to feel better-rested and more positive.

Learn more about the benefits of mandarin essential oil.

Lemon tea tree oil is packed with positive energy

Whilst lemon tea tree essential oil is not strictly a citrus oil, we had to include it on our list of best essential oils for happiness.

The oil has a distinct citrus aroma, allowing you to bask in its wonderfully bright and sunny lemon tones.

When inhaled it can be cleansing for the mind, helping to dispel negative energy and giving positive thoughts an opportunity to resurface, so you feel uplifted and clear-headed.

Learn more about the benefits of lemon tea tree essential oil.

Woman standing smelling oil out a bottle she's holding

What are the best floral essential oils for happiness?

Citrus oils are not for everyone, so why not give one of these floral essential oils a go:

Lavender oil often brings calm and happiness

When it comes to the best essential oils for happiness, lavender essential oil is one that is impossible to overlook.

It’s often the number one option for people who want to manage their mental health with natural solutions.

For example, researchers found that symptoms of postpartum depression in new mothers could be eased through inhalation.

A 2013 study also suggested that it could improve the symptoms associated with generalised anxiety disorder.

Learn more about the benefits of lavender essential oil.

Clary sage oil can a positive impact on mental health

If you’re in need of a little reassurance through a scent that can have a positive impact on mood, then clary sage essential oil could be for you.

It has long been used as a stress-reliever, with people diffusing the oil around their homes or inhaling directly from the bottle.

In a 2014 study, researchers also discovered that use of the oil helped to improve thyroid hormone levels, which led to decreased feelings of depression.

Learn more about the benefits of clary sage essential oil.

Rose oil could be a stimulant for mind and body

Being in a low mood or coping with depression can have a big effect on other areas of our lives, including our libido.

In one study, rose essential oil was found to have a positive effect on males with a major depressive disorder who were taking antidepressants.

Although it was to a lesser extent, the same was found to be true for women with the same disorder.

The positive effect could be due to the release of dopamine in the brain caused by inhaling the oil, helping to lighten the mood and increase sexual desire.

Happy man taking a deep breath outside

What other essential oils are good for boosting mood?

The best essential oils for happiness extend beyond citrus and floral notes, with options like:

Petitgrain oil produces a calming, soothing effect

Petitgrain essential oil isn’t perhaps quite as widely known as some other oils, but it is a common ingredient used in perfumes, so there’s a good chance you are already familiar with its aroma.

The oil has long been associated with self-confidence and bravery and many find that inhaling the oil can bring a sense of comfort, helping to ease nervous thoughts and create a more positive outlook in the moment.

One study even suggested that diffusing it in the workplace could help to improve productivity.

Learn more about the benefits of petitgrain essential oil.

Thyme oil can help to reduce negative feelings

People who feel ill at ease or restless often turn to thyme essential oil for its natural calming properties.

Thyme’s active ingredient is carvacrol, which has been found to increase concentrations of dopamine and serotonin in mice.

These are two key hormones that influence our moods, so inhaling the oil could help to give you a lift.

Learn more about the benefits of thyme essential oil.

Chamomile oil is known for relieving stress and anxiety

When used in aromatherapy, researchers learned that chamomile essential oil was able to lower anxiety, depression and stress for older adults.

A 2017 study involving people with generalised anxiety disorder found that over 58% of participants saw a reduction in symptoms after 8 weeks.

Simply diffuse around your home or add a few drops to a tissue or handkerchief to inhale whenever you need.

How to use essential oils for low mood and depression

There are many benefits to using essential oils for low mood and depression and you can easily incorporate them into your life by:

  • Adding the oil to a diffuser to disperse around your home.
  • Inhaling directly from the oil’s bottle or inhaler tube.
  • Placing a few drops onto a handkerchief or cotton ball to inhale.
  • Enjoying an aromatherapeutic massage by mixing the essential oil with a carrier oil before gently rubbing into the skin.
  • Creating an aromatherapy bath, by diluting the essential oil and adding to warm bath water.

Instead of using a single essential oil, you could try combining them, as one study found that this could prove useful in combating depression.

black and white botanical illustration of lavender

FAQs about the best essential oils for happiness

Is aromatherapy good for depression?

Aromatherapy can be good for some symptoms associated with depression and anxiety.

Some essential oils have been found by scientists to have a positive effect, although much more research is needed before any solid conclusions can be reached.

If depression affects your quality of life, speak with a doctor about the best course of action for you, as essential oils are best used as short-term mood boosters.

Can I use peppermint oil to boost my mood?

Peppermint oil has a fresh and invigorating scent, that once inhaled can help to cool and soothe the mind.

Whilst it is not in our list of the best essential oils for happiness, diffusing or inhaling the oil can increase alertness, stimulate the senses and awaken the mind, giving you an increased sense of optimism.

It is sometimes used to boost energy levels, combat fatigue or improve concentration levels.

Can I use essential oils instead of antidepressants?

You should not replace a course of antidepressants with essential oils.

This is something that should be discussed with your doctor who can advise what is best for your health based on your circumstances.

Essential oils can help to relieve some symptoms of anxiety and depression in the short-term, but should not be viewed as a medication replacement.

You might also like to read

Cooling Essential Oils for Hot Summer Days

5 min read / 9 July 2024 / yasmin sharp

Cooling Essential Oils for Hot Summer Days

Discover the best cooling essential oils for hot summer days and learn how to use them to stay refreshed and comfortable.

Essential Oils for Asthma

5 min read / 2 July 2024 / yasmin sharp

Essential Oils for Asthma

Explore the potential benefits and safe usage of essential oils for managing asthma symptoms.

How to Use Sage Oil for Beard Growth

5 min read / 25 June 2024 / yasmin sharp

How to Use Sage Oil for Beard Growth

Discover how sage oil can enhance beard growth and improve beard health.

Cedarwood Oil for Beard Growth - Does it Work?

4 min read / 10 May 2024 / yasmin sharp

Cedarwood Oil for Beard Growth - Does it Work?

Explore the potential benefits of cedarwood oil for enhancing beard growth and overall beard health.

Dandelion in the breeze

5 min read / 1 May 2024 / yasmin sharp

Best Essential Oils for Hay Fever

Learn how to safely use essential oils as part of your hayfever treatment plan and get tips on incorporating them into your daily routine.

Spray bottle next to a plant and a green cloth

8 min read / 18 March 2024 / yasmin sharp

10 Best Essential Oils for Cleaning

Discover the top 10 essential oils that can revolutionise your cleaning routine, offering natural, powerful, and pleasant-smelling alternatives to keep your home spotless.

Woman treating spot with cotton pad

8 min read / 1 March 2024 / yasmin sharp

The Best Essential Oils for Treating Acne

Discover the most effective essential oils for acne and how to use them safely.

Best Essential Oils for Pregnancy

6 min read / 21 February 2024 / yasmin sharp

Best Essential Oils for Pregnancy

Discover the best and safest essential oils to support your journey through pregnancy, offering natural relief for stress, nausea, and more.

Massage Candles: Everything You Need to Know

5 min read / 26 January 2024 / yasmin sharp

Massage Candles: Everything You Need to Know

Unveiling the secrets of massage candles; soothing benefits, uses, and safety tips for enhanced relaxation and intimacy.

Medical Disclaimer

The content in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to take the place of medical advice. Please consult your personal physician for any advice or treatment regarding specific health questions. Neither the article editor, writer, nor the organisation of Nikura takes any responsibility for possible health consequences following the information given in any article. All readers should consult their physician before taking any advice given within these articles.

We use strictly necessary cookies to personalise your site experience. You can learn more here.