At times, focusing on a certain task may seem impossible. Although unpleasant and unproductive, it is a normal body response. You need rest and clean breaks to kick start it all over again. But what do you do when all this is not enough? You try some essential oils for focus and concentration.
In this post, you’ll find details about:
- The way essential oils can help your mind focus on a given task. Find out what research says about these memory and concentration boosters.
- Some of the best stimulating aromatic oils to give your body and mind a well-deserved kick.
- How to use these essences for the most effective and fastest results.
- A comparison between using essential oils for attention and focus and brain enhancing pills.
- Blend recipes for all your focus problems. Study more relaxed knowing you can assimilate more with Aromatherapy.
- A few helpful tips that’ll enhance the effects of the oils during your learning sessions.
Best Essential Oils for Focus and Concentration and How to Use Them for Strong Effects
The human mind is extremely complex. There are millions of thoughts and processes going through it, every single day. So, it’s only natural to get distracted at times and not be able to focus on a task.
This usually happens when you don’t really want to be doing that specific something, at that specific moment.
Unfortunately, we have to do lots of things that we’re not in the mood for. Focusing can be employed on anything. At work, at home, at school, in traffic, while traveling, and so on.
Thankfully, we have a few natural attention and memory boosters available. This is where Aromatherapy and its essential oils play an important role.
How Can Essential Oils Help with Focus and Memory?
An aromatic oil is in fact a concentrated plant extract. The plant’s essence (oils) is drawn out with the help of steam vapors. Those oils will have various effects on our health and mood.
One of the most important aspects of an aromatic essence is its chemical composition. This chemical composition is always influenced by the geographical area (soil & climate). The time of harvest, harvest method and processing also affect it.
An essence is made of hundreds of tiny different volatile molecules. So far, researchers haven’t been able to identify all the substances found in all essential oils. Even so, there are already hundreds of them known.
These molecules can enter our bodies through the nose (inhalation) or skin (topical use).
When you inhale an essential oil, its chemical constituents will travel to your brain. There, they will cross the blood-brain barrier effectively. They can send signals that tell the brain to release certain neurotransmitters.
These neurotransmitters are then responsible for feeling good, annoyed, tired, drowsy, etc. Some oils are good for relaxation and sleep. Others are good at stimulating all your senses and giving your energy a boost.
When we want to focus better and concentrate our attention on something, we need a stimulating fragrance. Our minds like to associate fragrances with memories (the limbic system).
An essential oil for focus and memory can create the association I’m talking about. Thus, inhaling a certain scent every time you study for example, will tell your mind that it’s time to focus.
However, you must choose the oil fragrance carefully. Studies show how some essences can actually put you to sleep instead of boosting your attention.
This post refers only to those that are naturally stimulating. It is important to pick the one you like the most out of these oils. Still, a ‘99 study by Degel J. and Köster E.P., concluded that the more pleasant the aroma, the better you can focus and perform.
Using essential oils for studying and concentration will create the proper learning environment. The oils can:
- Disinfect the air and change the room odor. They can get rid of bad odors and refresh the atmosphere. This is a good way of delivering more oxygen to the brain too, which enhances your focus abilities.
- Relieve tension in the muscles and headaches or migraines.
- Give your body a boost and help you feel more energized.
- Stimulate your nervous system and influence your mood.
- Lower the blood pressure and heartbeat so you can relax and assimilate more information.
- Be carried away anywhere (portable). That’s why Aromatherapy makes great memory boosters for you at home and at the office, and other places.
Now, which essential oils are used for focus and concentration, right? Some of the more stimulant ones are Black Spruce, Bay Laurel and Lemon. And here’s why:
1) Black Spruce Essential Oil
Botanical name: Picea mariana.
- Black Spruce essential oil plays an important role in stimulating all physiological processes. This includes the brain, circulatory system, digestion, etc.
- The oil has cortisone-like effects that influence the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system. This system is medically referred to as the HPA axis. Its stimulation can relieve fatigue and allow the body and mind to stay in shape.
- Black Spruce is in the spotlight as its constituents possess impressive properties. It’s been found that Pine essential oil is a great anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antitumor agent.
- It can also clear out the respiratory passages and improve breathing. This in turn translates into more oxygen for the brain and cells and a better functioning.
- Avoid the use of Black Spruce oil for focus if you suffer with thyroid problems.
- You should also avoid it if you have asthma and/or epilepsy.
- If you’re on hormone treatment, seek medical advice first. This is because of the oil’s cortisone-like effects.
Why I like it:
Black Spruce smells very balsamic and resinous, like a forest. It is very uplifting and stimulating, and on top of this all, it can also be used for respiratory problems. It can also be used for digestion and muscle pain.
2) Bay Laurel Essential Oil
Botanical name: Laurus nobilis.
- Bay Laurel prepares the body for mental strain. It can do that because it is stimulant and can balance the nervous system too. It has a direct effect on the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The first one is responsible for keeping the body and mind alert and awake. The parasympathetic system deals with the rest and recovery phase of the body. In other words, Bay Laurel can keep your body ready for action and calm and relaxed at the same time.
- It is a strong antibacterial and antioxidant. These properties add to the oil’s beneficial effects.
- It is also antispasmodic and pain-reliever, making it useful against migraines.
- People with asthma and/or seizures or epilepsy should use this oil carefully. There’s a high risk of an epileptic seizure. It’s best to talk to a doctor first.
- In case of high doses, Bay Laurel may have narcotic effects.
- Always read the Latin name on the bottle. It’ll help you buy the right type and avoid other, more toxic Laurel oil varieties.
Why I like it:
With a mentholated and camphoraceous scent, the oil is very stimulating for the senses. Bay Laurel oil for focus can also strengthen the immune system. But it can repel insects just as well.
3) Lemon Essential Oil
Botanical name: Citrus limon.
- Lemon essential oil is a great disinfectant and air purifier.
- It is also tonic, meaning it can stimulate all senses and physiological activities inside the body.
- Even though it’s uplifting, Lemon essential oil for focus and energy can also relax you.
- It can help you with the anxiety before an exam and relieve nausea.
- If it’s cold pressed or expressed, Lemon oil is phototoxic. You must avoid sun exposure for 24 – 48 hours after applying the oil topically.
- Avoid using Lemon essential oil for focus and concentration if you have kidney stones.
- High amounts of this oil can also induce seizures.
Why I like it:
Tart, spicy and fresh, Lemon oil can be used for all your study sessions. It can also improve digestion and fluidify the blood. The latter is possible because it can also break down fats on the artery walls. It’s great for hair and skin care too. Lemon oil can lighten the skin and prevent acne, among others.
What other stimulating essential oils are used for focus and concentration?
- Black Pepper
- Lemon Eucalyptus
- Palo Santo
- Clove bud
- Green Mandarin
Peppermint and Rosemary are also very popular essential oils for focus and memory. You can read more about them here:
If you’re a doTERRA fan and you want to know which oil is good for focus and concentration, they have a few options. You can choose any of the essences I just mentioned, or you can go for one of their proprietary blends.
The doTERRA InTune essential oil blend for focus can be used just like any other blend. It contains a mixture of Amyris, Patchouli, Frankincense, Lime, Hawaiian Sandalwood and others.
These essential oils for focus from doTERRA may also kickstart your body and mind.
Young Living also has an oil blend called Brain Power. It contains a mix of Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Melissa and Cypress among others.
These Young Living oils for focus can help you calm down and focus better on your task. If you like the fragrance of the blend, it could become a good little helper.
Seek medical advice for each new essence if you’re:
- A child.
- An elderly person.
- Suffering from diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular problems, etc.
- Sensitive and allergic.
How to Use Essential Oils for Focus & Attention, Study & Concentration
When it comes to affecting the nervous system, Aromatherapy can be used in different ways.
The best way is inhalation or diffusion. You can either put a few drops on a cotton pad or nose inhaler or use an Aroma diffuser. This method ensures you inhale about 50 – 70% of the oil concentration. It has the highest absorption rate.
A correct diffusion depends on lots of factors. You can diffuse between 5 – 20 drops, depending on how large the space is. Also, when diffusing oils for focus and concentration, consider pets and other family members around you.
Check out these articles too, to make sure you’re doing everything right:
- (Safe Aromatherapy) Essential Oils for Cats, Precautions and Tips
- How to Use Essential Oils in a Diffuser (A Beginner’s Guide and FAQ)
- Best Essential Oil Diffusers for a Large Room! Pros, Cons and Recipes
- What Essential Oils Diffuser Jewelry to Pick and Why (plus Blends)
Steam inhalations are also effective. One of the best and most relaxing methods is an aromatic bath. Simply mix 10 – 20 drops of essential oil for focus with a cup of salt and add it to hot bathwater.
Inhale deeply while in there and let the oils stimulate all your senses. You can also pour a few drops on the floor of the shower in the morning to get a bit of energy boost.
Another fast and simple way of enjoying your favorite essences is topically. You can mix 6 – 20 drops per Oz carrier oil for a blend. I would not recommend blending more than 5 essential oils for focus though.
You can use lots of colored roll-on bottles to mix your oils and keep them handy. When you’re studying or trying to focus better on a task, simply take it out and apply it to the skin. But where to apply essential oils for focus, right?
The best places for that are the pulse points: wrists, neck, behind the ears and temples. Apply small amounts and rub the mixture well, while inhaling deeply. Such a memory and focus oil blend can be used at home, as well as at the office.
Essential Oils for Focus & Attention vs. Brain Enhancing Drugs
Brain enhancing drugs represent a powerful industry. Everyone, from students and academicians to soldiers take these pills. They all want or need to perform better and stay sharper for a longer time than usual.
However, they’re not exactly that useful. A study found that brain enhancing drugs help only those found at the lower end of the spectrum. What does this mean? It means that if your cognitive functions are low (tired, nervous, without much sleep, etc.), the drugs can help.
For a short period of time though, and in the meantime they drain all your body’s energy reserves.
Otherwise, if you’re healthy and running at full capacity but can’t focus for other reasons, the drugs won’t help. They actually impair your cognitive functions.
These drugs, like so many others, come with many side effects. They can also interact with other medications, which makes them dangerous.
Aromatherapy and essential oils are a lot safer. That’s why they’re accepted as a form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).
Try to combine them with a healthy lifestyle (balanced diet, enough sleep and some form of physical exercise) to get even better results. All the aromatic oils do is enhance and stimulate your brain’s functions.
At the same time, they also boost the other physiological processes and the immune system. So, it seems that using essential oils is better and safer than using brain enhancing pills.
Focus, Attention & Concentration Blends, plus Tips to Enhance Their Effects
Now you have all the facts about improving focus, attention and energy. It’s time to get practical and try some blends for your next study session. Whatever the reason you need a better focus for, here are some recipes to choose from.
As to what essential oils are good for focus and concentration, I’d go for the stimulant ones. Lemon, Black Spruce, Pine and Bay Laurel are just a few examples.
Focus & Concentration Diffuser Recipe
- Lemon essential oil: 20 drops
- Bay Laurel essential oil: 10 drops
- Black Spruce essential oil: 10 drops
Mix all the oils together in an empty glass bottle and use a certain amount when needed. Diffuse for 20 – 30 minutes at the most and keep your room well-ventilated while doing so.
The oils will continue to diffuse even after you stop the diffuser. This thing matters because long inhalations (60+ minutes) can actually stress your body.
Focus Essential Oil Roll-On Blend (10 ml)
- Bergamot essential oil: 5 drops
- Rosemary essential oil: 10 drops
- Lemon Eucalyptus essential oil: 5 drops
- Sweet Almond oil
- 10 ml roll-on bottle
Add the essential oils for focus first, then top off with carrier oil. Shake the bottle well before each use and apply as suggested. Repeat every 2 hours, if necessary.
Energy Kick Essential Oil Diffuser Recipe
- Lemon essential oil: 20 drops
- Bergamot essential oil: 20 drops
- Rosemary essential oil: 10 drops
- Black Spruce essential oil: 10 drops
Pour a few drops on your shower floor or in some salt for an aromatic bath. This focus and energy blend can be used in a nebulizer, for a few minutes at a time.
Stay Focused Aromatherapy Diffuser Recipe
- Bay Laurel essential oil: 20 drops
- Peppermint essential oil: 20 drops
- Black Pepper essential oil: 20 drops
Use a few drops at a time, several times a day while studying or focusing on a new task. Don’t hesitate to take small breaks every couple of hours and inhale fresh air.
Helpful Tips for Better Focus
Your mind can focus better, and the oils can work better too, if you create the right atmosphere. Here’re a few things to consider while trying to learn:
- Get rid of distractions like phones and other gadgets. Turn off the PC or laptop if you don’t need it.
- Pick your favorite essential oils for focus and concentration. Diffuse for 20 – 30 minutes and then turn it off. Keep your window slightly open so fresh air can circulate and prevent oil buildup. That may saturate the air and cause headaches or nausea.
- Keep a focus oil blend with you and use it whenever necessary. It’ll make you feel better and more confident.
- Eat something light and drink herbal teas. Peppermint tea can stimulate your cognitive functions too, not just the essential oil. You want your body to not have to divert its attention to digestion instead of your learning.
- Sleep well and enough (7 – 8 hours) every night, at least before the final exam or test. The lack of sleep can impair your memory and cause you to retain less information.
- Take a walk, stretch or meditate whenever you feel the need. It’ll oxygenate your brain and increase the energy and focus levels.
Essential oils can be used for exams, clarity and energy. They can also be used to purify the air and prevent viral infections. They have many uses, which is why they’re so popular these days.
Instead of using brain enhancing pills, you can always give essential oils for focus a try. They do smell very uplifting and can indeed relax the body and mind. It’s what you need to focus better on the task at hand.
Some of the best essential oils that can help with focus and concentration are also among the best smelling ones. This makes your choice a lot easier. What is your experience with Aromatherapy during learning periods? Have you noticed positive results when you used aromatic oils?