What Candle Scent Is Good For Anxiety?

Using candles and aromatherapy can be an effective way to help relieve anxiety and promote relaxation. Certain scents from essential oils are known to have calming properties that can help reduce stress and anxiety. When the scents are inhaled, they send signals to the brain that help initiate the body’s relaxation response. The limbic system, which controls emotions and behavior, is especially sensitive to smells. When calming scents are detected, they can help lower blood pressure, heart rate, and levels of stress hormones like cortisol.

Candles are a popular method of aromatherapy because they allow essential oils to be safely heated and dispersed in the air. The flickering flame provides a visual focal point while the scent fills the space. Scented candles come in many formulations but those containing natural essential oils are best for anxiety relief. Targeting scents known to reduce anxiety allows candles to create a soothing environment and pleasant aroma that can help relax both the mind and body.

How Scent Impacts Mood

Research has shown that scent can have a powerful effect on mood, emotions, and well-being. Studies reveal that smell is closely linked to the limbic system, the part of the brain that regulates emotions and memories (Maison 21G, 2022). When we inhale fragrances, signals are transmitted from the nose to the brain, stimulating the release of neurotransmitters and hormones like serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, and norepinephrine (Scientific American, 2002). These chemicals play a key role in regulating mood, relaxation, alertness, and stress levels.

Pleasant scents are believed to activate the brain’s reward and pleasure centers, making us feel happier and more relaxed. Scientists have observed scent-triggered changes in blood pressure, heart rate, brain waves, breathing, and skin temperature when smelling certain fragrances (Sowndhararajan et. al, 2016). This demonstrates the close mind-body connection triggered by smells. Overall, research confirms that fragrances can effectively enhance or alter our mood, emotions, cognition, physiology and behavior.

Best Candle Scents for Reducing Anxiety

Certain scents from candles can help provide a calming effect and reduce anxiety. Some of the best candle scents for this purpose include:


Lavender is one of the most popular scents for reducing anxiety. The floral aroma creates a soothing, relaxed feeling. Studies show lavender’s scent can lower heart rate and blood pressure. Some research found lavender candles can help reduce anxiety in patients undergoing medical procedures [1]. Burning a lavender scented candle at home can promote relaxation and prepare your body and mind for rest.


Like lavender, chamomile has a mild, floral scent that’s calming. This common tea herb contains antioxidants that can help relieve stress. Chamomile candles can create a comforting atmosphere and provide anxiety relief. The scent may make you feel less tense and more tranquil.

Ylang Ylang

Ylang ylang essential oil comes from the flowers of the Cananga tree. It has an intense, sweet, spicy aroma. Research indicates ylang ylang’s scent can help lower blood pressure and breathing rate [2]. Burning a candle containing ylang ylang oil can promote relaxation and alleviate anxious feelings.


Bergamot is a citrus fruit that produces an uplifting, yet calming scent. Studies confirm inhaling bergamot oil can reduce anxiety, improve mood, and enhance relaxation [3]. Bergamot candles can create a soothing environment to unwind anxiety and nervous tension.


Known for its warm, comforting scent, vanilla can help ease worries. Research found vanilla’s aroma lowered anxiety in patients undergoing MRI scans [4]. Vanilla candle fragrances create pleasant sensations to reduce restlessness and calm the mind.


With its rich, woody aroma, sandalwood oil delivers relaxing effects. Studies indicate sandalwood can reduce anxiety levels and promote calmness [5]. Burning a sandalwood scented candle creates a peaceful environment to unwind anxiety and tension.


Lavender has been used for centuries for its soothing and calming properties. The scent of lavender can lower heart rate and blood pressure, which helps to reduce anxiety and stress (source). Lavender acts on the limbic system, which controls emotions and the release of serotonin and dopamine, chemicals that regulate mood. One study found that lavender aromatherapy reduced anxiety in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery (source). The relaxing properties of lavender make it one of the best candle scents for anxiety and promoting a sense of calm.

a lit lavender scented candle.


Chamomile is one of the most popular scents for reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation. The sweet, herbaceous aroma contains compounds like chamazulene and α-bisabolol that have demonstrated anti-anxiety and sedative effects in research studies (Source 1). When inhaled, these active ingredients bind to receptors in the brain that decrease anxiety, ease tension, and enhance overall calmness.

Specifically, chamomile has been shown to positively impact the body’s GABA neurotransmitter, which inhibits nervous system activity and decreases feelings of stress and worry (Source 2). The calming nature of chamomile makes it an excellent scent choice for reducing anxiety symptoms like restlessness, muscle tension, and racing thoughts.

Lighting a chamomile candle can promote relaxation before bedtime and lead to improved sleep quality. The subtle floral aroma creates a soothing environment that makes it easier to drift off to sleep. Chamomile candles are also beneficial when feeling overwhelmed or anxious during the day. Taking a few moments to stop and breathe in the calming fragrance can lower stress levels and encourage inner tranquility.

Ylang Ylang

Ylang ylang essential oil has been found to have anxiety-reducing properties due to its ability to lower blood pressure and calm the nervous system (1). Research shows ylang ylang can decrease heart rate and blood pressure, which can help relieve feelings of anxiety and stress (2). The main active compounds in ylang ylang are linalool and geraniol, which provide sedative and calming effects on both the mind and body (3). Studies also indicate ylang ylang essential oil enhances overall mood, promotes relaxation, and may help relieve depression in addition to lowering anxiety (1). Ylang ylang has an intoxicating floral scent that is both calming and sensual at the same time, making it an excellent option for an anxiety-reducing candle.


Bergamot essential oil comes from the rind of the bergamot orange, a citrus fruit grown in Italy. The fresh, citrusy scent of bergamot is both uplifting yet calming. Bergamot oil has been used in aromatherapy for hundreds of years to improve mood and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

The key benefits of bergamot for anxiety relief include:

  • Has an uplifting and mood-boosting effect
  • Induces feelings of calmness and relaxation
  • Helps relieve tension, stress, and anxious feelings
  • Promotes restful sleep

According to a 2015 study published in the journal Phytomedicine, inhaling bergamot essential oil for 15 minutes significantly reduced anxiety and improved mood in patients about to undergo surgery (Source 1).

When choosing a bergamot-scented candle for anxiety, look for 100% pure essential oil for the true aromatherapy benefits. Bergamot candles can help create a peaceful environment and provide a moment of zen during stressful times (Source 2).


One of the most popular and soothing candle scents is vanilla. Research shows vanilla scents can have a comforting and relaxing effect, making it an excellent choice for candles aimed at reducing anxiety. Vanilla is often associated with warmth, comfort, and familiarity. The sweet, rich aroma evokes feelings of calm and can help create a peaceful environment.

According to The Healthy Candle Company, their vanilla candles are infused with Madagascar vanilla to enhance mood and provide a happy, soothing experience for users. Customers report the pure vanilla fragrance helps them feel less stressed and anxious.

Vanilla Crush soy candles offered by Anxiety Gone use a high-quality soy wax blend with vanilla fragrance that customers describe as extremely soft and soothing. The natural scents are designed to lessen feelings of stress.

Research into aromatherapy also demonstrates vanilla’s relaxing properties. A study in the journal Chemical Senses found vanilla scent reduced anxiety in rats under stressful conditions. The soothing odor impacted both behavior and brain activity linked to anxious feelings.

Lighting a vanilla candle can be an easy, natural way to cultivate a sense of calm in your environment. The delicate, sweet aroma provides a pleasant sensory experience that may help decrease anxious thoughts and feelings.


Sandalwood is known for its soft, woody, and sweet scent that has a calming and relaxing effect. Studies show that sandalwood can help reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and stress levels (1). The scent triggers changes in the brain, inducing the body to relax. Sandalwood also helps promote better sleep, which is beneficial for those suffering from anxiety and insomnia.

When burning a sandalwood candle, the scent permeates the air to create a soothing environment. Sandalwood’s grounding aroma helps settle worried minds and anxious thoughts. Its calming properties make it an excellent choice for relaxing at home or easing anxiety before bedtime. Focusing on sandalwood’s peaceful fragrance can also help redirect attention during moments of stress or panic (2).

Look for 100% natural sandalwood candles or essential oils to experience the maximum benefits. Sandalwood mixes well with lavender, bergamot, and other relaxing scents. Burn sandalwood daily or whenever you need a comforting aromatherapy treatment.

(1) https://carrierefreres.com/us_en/sandalwood-candle.html

(2) https://www.amazon.com/Relaxd-Premium-Sandalwood-Aromatherapy-Essential/dp/B09Y86THDL

Other Tips for Using Candles

In addition to choosing a scent that reduces anxiety, there are other tips for using candles to create a relaxing environment:

Use candles while meditating or doing yoga. The soft glow and calming fragrance can enhance these relaxing practices. Light candles in the room before starting your meditation or yoga session.

The Benefits of Candles For Mental Health

Time your candle use carefully. Light candles in the evening to help calm your mind and body before bedtime. The scent and ambience will help you unwind after a stressful day.

Place candles strategically around spaces where you want to promote relaxation, like the bedroom, bathroom, or living room. Opt for unscented candles or relaxing scents like lavender.

Extinguish candles when leaving a room or before falling asleep to prevent fire hazards.

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