While we have all felt anxious or nervous before a big test or exam, test anxiety is a whole other level.
Test anxiety is when your level of stress and anxiety goes beyond a little nervousness and becomes extreme, bringing high levels of worry, anxiety and self doubt; and it can actually impair your learning and compromise test performance.
In this post I want to focus on the use of Aromatherapy for test anxiety, but you should remember that there are numerous tips and tricks for how to manage and you should never be afraid to seek help from a teacher or professional.
What does the research say?
In 2022, Zulfinaz et al. assessed anxiety levels before inhalation and after the test finding that inhaling lemon essential oil for 15 minutes prior to a test decreased anxiety by 43.3% compared to the control group.
Narges et al., in 2021, tested the effect of lavender and rose damask inhalation on test anxiety. They assessed anxiety levels before application, 15 minutes after application, and immediately after the test, finding a significant decrease in state anxiety at 15 minutes after application, but more importantly they found the aromatherapy inhalation continued to lower anxiety through the duration of the test resulting in even lower anxiety scores by the end of the test. It should be noted that in the control group there was no significant difference between the 3 assessments.
And one more ...
In 2016, Bakhsha et al. tested the effect of lavender and citrus aurantium (Neroli) on test anxiety finding a statistically significant difference with lavender lowering mean anxiety from 5.67 to 3.9 and citrus aurantium lowering mean anxiety from 5.25 to 3.97. They also noted that both interventions had a significant effect on heart rate.
So this is only a quick sampling to show you that it works, but now let's look at why it works ...
The science behind the Research ...
In the chemistry of essential oils we learn a whole lot of information, but to strip it right down ... oils high in esters, aldehydes, alcohols and monoterpenols all have a sedative effect - sedative meaning it promotes calmness - and monoterpenols have a balancing effect.
So taking that information over to my essential oil profiles, I wanted to see if the oils that had been selected for testing had those properties and constituents, and any other key uses that might aid in lowering anxiety before a test.
Lavender ... has a good amount of both esters and alcohols, making it balancing, relaxing, calms the nerves, and restorative. It also clears negative and stagnant energies.
Lemon ... is high in monoterpenols making it a balancing oil that promotes calmness, and reduces anxiety. It is also uplifting and brings a positive attitude.
Neroli ... is high in alcohols and monoterpenols making it a balancing oil that promotes calmness, it also reduces anxiety, brings calm, relaxation, restorative, and helps with stress.
Rose ... is high in alcohols which calm nerves, it also relieves tension and feelings of inadequacy along with decreasing anxiety.
how aromatherapy can help you?
There are several methods of application of aromatherapy that can help, both topical and inhaled, but a couple are better used for a home test vs a classroom test.
No matter which application you choose, working with a Certified Aromatherapist can help you get maximum benefit, by customizing the application and oils that are best for YOU.
If you don't like the smell, you are not likely to use a blend or oil regardless of the potential benefits.
I hope you or someone you love can gain some benefit from this information.
No one should have to suffer with test anxiety that compromises performance.
Brien-anne RMT, CA
I am passionate not only about Massage Therapy & Aromatherapy, but also living a holistic lifestyle and empowering others to do the same!