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Aromatherapy for Depression After a Breakup

It’s natural to feel depressed after a breakup. You said goodbye to someone you love, perhaps losing the most important relationship in your life. You will never be the same, and neither will your heart. But even though breaking up hurts — and feels so unnatural — there are healthy ways to encourage the healing process. 

These aromatherapy tips can help you cope with breakup depression naturally. Just a whiff of certain scents can boost your spirits and help you start feeling better. Think of your favorite scents, perhaps of bread baking or freshly mown grass in the summertime. Or maybe the scent of vanilla or chocolate makes you feel warm and happy. That’s aromatherapy! And it can help you cope with depressed feelings after a breakup. 

But first, a warning. Aromatherapy can’t cure major depression, severe anxiety, or thoughts of hurting yourself. These aromatherapy tips are for the “lighter” type of depression — the breakup blues and sadness that we normally feel after saying goodby to someone we love. If you aren’t sure if you’re experiencing the normal breakup blues, read Not Quite Sad or Lonely…What Depression Feels Like.


The most effective type of aromatherapy for depression depends on you. What scents do you most like to smell, taste, or even imagine? I share four specific scents below and describe the positive effects on your brain and body. But if these scents don’t please your nose, then they won’t lift your spirits — much less help you cope with breakup depression. 

Even if you don’t enjoy these specific scents, you’ll be surprised by these aromatherapy tips.

4 Uplifting Aromatherapy Scents for Depression

“I’m depressed and I can’t sleep at night,” says Marissa on Filling the Void in Your Life After a Breakup. “I loved a guy and I proposed but he said no. So we moved on. Then a few years we became good friends. I had a fear that if I continued the friendship I’d fall in love again. But I wanted to be a good friend to him so we spent time together. We ended up sleeping together and then he broke up with me. He can’t be friends with me anymore. I already got over him once and I know I’ll be fine but I just need something to help me cope with breakup depression.”

These aromatherapy tips for depression won’t erase the pain of breaking up, but they will lift your spirits and distract you from the pain. And right now, that’s exactly what you need! Smell is closely linked to memory; these scents create feelings of peace, joy, and happiness. They also increase your energy and well-being. 

1. Vanilla for peace and serenity

Aromatherapy for Depression After a Breakup
Aromatherapy Oils for Depression After a Breakup

An article in the journal Chemical Senses found that people who smell vanilla feel happier and more relaxed. A different study tested vanilla scents on patients who were undergoing an MRI to look for cancer. Sixty-three per cent reported feeling less anxiety compared with those who smelled no fragrance. Other researchers found that eating vanilla yogurt made people feel happy, and that yogurts with lower fat content gave people a stronger positive emotional response. 

Brown Sugar, Apple, Harvest Spice, Vanilla, Forest Pine, Snickerdoodle Essential Oils are easy to use in your bath, body, or even in your haircare. You can even make your own soap or candles with them…and that is one of the best ways to use aromatherapy for depression after a breakup. Find something active to do, that engages your mind and senses both. Have you ever made soap or candles with aromatherapy essential oils? This might be the beginning of something new and interesting in your life!

2. Cinnamon for focus

Lack of focus is a typical symptom of depression. It’s also a symptom of grief and mourning a loss. If you’re finding it difficult to pay attention, surround yourself with the scent of cinnamon. Cinnamon has been found to sharpen attention spans and improve the ability to focus. Scientists at Wheeling Jesuit University discovered that when people smelled cinnamon, their attention improved and they had a better working memory.

You can sprinkle cinnamon on your oatmeal, or bake a spiced cinnamon cake. Those are good ways to enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy for depression, but I’d stick with essential oils. That way you don’t add calories to the healing process!

3. Peppermint to curb hanger pangs

Speaking of calories…peppermint candies and candy canes can curb your hunger and help you feel energized. A research study found that participants who sniffed peppermint where less hungry and ate fewer calories over the course of five days. The smell of peppermint also increases energy; young adult athletes ran faster and were able to do more pushups after smelling peppermint, according to a study in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology. Spearmint is also excellent; the oil from spearmint aids digestion and eases nausea and vomiting.


I drink mint tea (spearmint, not peppermint) with Splenda for sweetness. It doesn’t smell as strong as actual peppermint, so it’s not “aromatherapy for depression” as such. But I love mint tea and it helps me feel better after anything bad or sad happens in my life. Peppermint may not completely overcome the depression you feel after breaking up with someone you love, but it can perk you up!

4. Rosemary for memory and healing

The scent of rosemary can improve your memory. Researchers at Northumbria University in England found that people who sniffed rosemary oil performed slightly better on prospective memory tests, which means they were less likely to forget future tasks. Rosemary is a fragrant plant that relieves muscle pain, low blood pressure and cold feet and hands.

Hmmm…maybe rosemary as an aromatherapy tip for depression won’t work after a breakup. After all, you don’t want to remember your relationship! You want to forget and start focusing on the future. So maybe leave rosemary aside for now.

3 Tips for Using Aromatherapy Essential Oils

Aromatherapy for depression is most effective if you use the essential oils the right way. These tips will help you understand how aromatherapy oils work — and how to incorporate scents into your daily life.

  1. Remember that general essential oils from a bath shop or general store may be of questionable quality – especially if they’re inexpensive! Look for premium grade essential oils, preferably in a specialty store that is staffed by salespeople with aromatherapy training. Or, look online for aromatherapists who recommend certain brands and combinations.
  2. Buy quality essential oils that are in a blue or brown light protective glass. Oils are light and heat sensitive, and need to be protected. The label on the bottle should provide both the common and botanical name for the oil.
  3. Avoid buying concentrated oils with rubber eyedroppers. The oils react with the rubber, causing it to break down and contaminate the oil.

If you have any tips for using aromatherapy — especially for depression or other emotional health issues — please comment below. 

3 Easy Ways to Use Aromatherapy in Daily Life

You may not want to liberally spray your favorite scent all over your workplace or home. Other people may be allergic or unhappy with the smell of, say, baking bread or freshly mown grass. I have to admit that the smell of breaking bread would make me bake and eat a whole loaf! So I wouldn’t want that smell while I work or watch tv. That’s why my Scarlett O’Hara aromatherapy tip for breakup depression is the best one 🙂 It’s just below, in the last tips for using aromatherapy oils…

Take a bath. Use “Muscle Relaxation Bath Salts”, which consists of 2 cups of Epsom salts, 5 drops of each of these essential oils: lavender, lemon grass, tea tree and orange. Use 1/2 cup mixture per bath.

Spray your rooms. Here’s a lovely homemade “Room Spray Diffusion” recipe: Use 5-20 drops of any oil you love, along with 2 to 4 ounces of distilled or spring water. Spray behind the toilet in the bathroom or in the corners of your bedroom. Don’t accidentally spray it in your eyes, though! 

Clean your house. Combine pink grapefruit oil with baking soda and sprinkle on your carpets before vacuuming. An easy way to make Natural House Cleaner is to blend lemon and ravensara leaf oils with distilled water and non-sudsing soap.

If you like more musk and sage scents, read The Powerful Benefits of the Best Types of Incense. Aromatherapy for depression doesn’t have to revolve around essential oils or even cleaning your home! After a breakup, you just may want to relax and ease your way through your depression.

One Last Tip for Aromatherapy and Depression

The loveliest way to surround yourself with your favorite scent is to put a few drops of an oil onto a handkerchief and fan yourself like Scarlett O’Hara. Some aromatherapists recommend not burning oils or incense indoors, because most oils and incense are poorly constructed and give off unhealthy fumes and soot. The last thing you need when you’re coping with breakup depression is to compromise your immune system or get sick!

Aromatherapy Oils for Breakup Depression
Aromatherapy Diffuser and Essential Oils

If you’re not the Scarlett O’Hara type, consider the Ultimate Aromatherapy Diffuser & Essential Oil Set. It comes with ten essential oils and state of the art wave diffusion technology (I had no idea such a thing existed!). This diffuser atomizes essential oils and creates a beautiful mood with ambient light modes. The diffuser actually lights up; it has two intensity settings for 14 different light combinations.

Some essential oils, such as lavender, ylang ylang and sandalwood, can be applied directly to the skin. Others are too concentrated and need to be diluted into carriers such as massage oils, bath soaps, lotions, and diffusers.

If you don’t think aromatherapy will help you cope with depression over breaking up, read 5 Things You Need to Survive a Breakup

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below. Tell your story, express your feelings, write through the pain. It often helps just to get it all off your chest and out of your system; writing is a great way to purge all the toxic thoughts and emotions.

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