Essential Oils That Can Reduce Stress, Improve Your Focus At Work

Meet your new home office desk staples.

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Trying to get more things done while working from home? Before you reach for your third cup of coffee, here's an alternative: Grab a bottle of essential oil

Getting a whiff of these scented liquids—which are extracted from plants—is said to improve your performance at work, whether by easing stress or upping your concentration. "Smell is the strongest of the senses and is best able to influence brain activity," explains Entrepreneur

But of course, these aromas have their limits. According to Women's Health Mag, "The key is staying within a 15-to 60-minute sweet spot—never breathe in essential oils for more than one hour at a time." 

Bear in mind that each essential oil has different benefits (it's also important to know the right and safe way to use them). 

To start you off, check out these essential oils worth keeping on your desk (or inside your purse): 


1. Peppermint

Perfect for: Boosting concentration 

Peppermint can do more than freshen up your breath, hair, and body. Breathing in the strong menthol scent can awaken your mind and sharpen your focus, especially on slow mornings or right before a brainstorming session with your officemates. A bonus perk: It can relieve sinuses, too!

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2. Rosemary

Perfect for: Improving memory

Rosemary is not only a spice; research shows that getting a whiff of it as an essential oil can also increase one's memory by 75% and improve alertness. Keeping a bottle of this oil will come in handy on those hectic days when you need to stay on top of a major project.  

3. Lavender

Perfect for: Fighting stress; sleeping better

Sometimes, slowing down is the best way to get more things done; an anxious mind on an already stressful day can be counterproductive. Lavender oil works best for easing tension and lessening anxiety, which in turn, clears your mind and helps you focus better. 


4. Lemongrass

Perfect for: Reducing anxiety 

In a 2015 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, it was found that a brief exposure to the citrusy aroma of lemongrass oil can lower one's tension. In the study, participants who inhaled the essential oil—compared to those who were exposed to diffused tea tree oil and distilled water—also recovered quickly from an anxiety-inducing test. So if you're feeling a little uptight, it won't hurt to grab a bottle of lemongrass oil! 

5. Lemon

Perfect for: Improving one's mood

Here's an interesting fact that can quite literally increase your productivity: one Japanese study that was reported by INC. revealed that lemon makes one type more accurately. "Workers made 54 percent fewer errors while smelling lemon, 33 percent fewer errors while smelling jasmine, and 20 percent fewer errors while smelling lavender." 

Typing aside, lemon oil has many other benefits, such as easing stress, fighting fatigue, and even decreasing levels of nausea among pregnant women


P.S. In case you're wondering, lemon and lemongrass are two different essential oils

6. Sweet Orange

Perfect for: Boosting your mood; relieving stress 

Feeling tired or simply uninspired at work? The bright and citrusy aroma of sweet orange can help promote the secretion of endorphins (yes, the same 'happy' hormones you get out of eating chocolate!) because we all know how extra-challenging it is to get work done when you aren't feeling 100%.

7. Basil

Perfect for: Retaining focus; relieving mental fatigue

Beyond spicing up pizzas and plates of pasta, basil—as an essential oil—is packed with powerful health benefits. According to Very Well Health, it can "improve [digestive disorders like nausea], increase alertness, and soothe muscle aches." What makes basil oil different from other focus-enhancing essential oils like peppermint is its warm, woody scent.

This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.


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