Whether you’re feeling down and need a slight boost, or you’re feeling on edge and need to relax a bit, you might want to try using your nose.
That’s right, your nose.
Your nose knows.
As incredible as it sounds, our sense of smell can play an incredible part in improving your mood. Researchers have devoted their time to the issue and found that some scents can, in fact, alter your mood to a certain extent.
So, the next time you need a mood boost, you might want to try some of the scents we will list to help you.
Scent and memory – the best of friends
The fact that scent is connected to mood changes is directly caused by the specific “wiring” of our brain.
That is, the olfactory center is connected directly to the parts of the brain that handle emotions and associative learning.
Basically, when we draw odor molecules into our nose, they dissolve and penetrate the mucus. Then they bind with the cilia (projections attached to receptor cells) and create an impulse which travels through nerves until it reaches the olfactory bulb in the brain, where the signals are processed and passed to other parts of the brain.
Many people don’t know this, but processing smell is closely related to the hippocampus, where memories are stored.
So, there’s a reason why you always remember grandma when you smell freshly baked cookies.
Or why you cringe when you smell rubbing alcohol.
Studies have even shown that memories evoked through odor went back farther in time. Also, they were more emotionally charged than memories evoked through words.
And because memories are always connected and intertwined with emotions, when we experience a scent stored in our memory, the brain then usually correlates it with some recollections and emotions present in them. That is why certain smells sometimes evoke strong feelings in us, even if we can’t quite place why that is.
Aside from its various health benefits, the very scent of a lemon can have incredible impact on your stress levels.
You might not think it particularly appealing, but the scent of lemon can increase your energy levels, improve your mood and even your ability to concentrate.
Now there’s a reason why you like those lemon-scented cleaning products, right?
In fact, most people would describe lemon as smelling “clean,” which is precisely why it is used in a great number of cleaning products.
It’s used in aromatherapy to help people get rid of feelings of impurity and imperfection. It also serves to boost their confidence.
You can use essential oils to achieve that purpose, or you can simply make lemonade. In fact, whenever you need a concentration or a confidence boost, why not make a glass of fresh lemonade?
Aaand, problem solved. Maybe.
In addition, you can use the calming properties of the scent of lemon when you’re feeling angry, nervous or simply tired.
It seems like we have somehow found our way to the fruit section. But even though fruit scents may seem simple, their impact can be huge.
According to certain studies, the scent of oranges has a relaxing effect, bringing about positivity and calm in the participants of the studies.
Also, the scent of oranges has been linked with reduced aggression.
So, whenever you feel anxious and a bit tense, it might be a good idea to take an orange-scented lotion and take a shower.
Also, you can extract oil from orange peels and find yourself with a generous supply of it for future use.
Good news for everyone that likes gum or tea!
The health benefits of peppermint have been widely known since ancient Egyptian times, since it’s been used for medicinal purposes since then.
The scent of peppermint is incredibly useful when you’re trying to concentrate. Also, it has mood-elevating properties which are efficient in combating anxiety and, in some cases, even depression. It’s been proven that it can relieve feelings of sadness effectively.
Peppermint is also useful when you’re feeling distracted when you should be studying or even driving. Some studies have shown that sniffing peppermint can improve typing accuracy and make drivers more alert.
Athletes that smelled peppermint during exercise actually outperformed those who did not.
So, you know what you need to do before you hit the gym next time.
Simply dab a few drops of peppermint oil on your temples or you can burn the oil in an aromatherapy burner for long-lasting effects.
If you don’t have the oil available, making tea or chewing gum can provide you with some relief, as well.
Can we all agree that coffee is the best thing that’s ever happened to mankind?
Its power is so incredible, that the mere scent of coffee can affect your brain chemistry.
That is great news for those suffering from high blood pressure, who cannot drink that much coffee on a daily basis.
Even smelling coffee can boost your brain power, a study found. So, if you can’t drink too much of it, you can definitely at least sniff coffee beans.
And we all know how good they smell.
So, the next time you need a bit of a boost before an exam, coffee will do you good. Just make sure you don’t go overboard.
A sniff or two just for you should be enough.
Not to sound too New Age-y, but dude, if you need to chill out, perhaps try lavender?
Lavender slows the heart rate and calms the nervous system.
Yeah, we also think so.
Essential oil experts will tell you that lavender is used in all sorts of ways. Lavender oil can be used to treat insomnia, anxiety and it can even help with nausea. Also, it can help with allergies and menstrual cramps.
It truly is a very versatile oil.
It has quite the soothing effect on nerves and can relieve tension. This is exactly what most modern day workers need. Amid the stress of the working day, you can find a sanctuary in the form of lavender, to help you ease your mind and relax.
So, to reiterate, dude, feel free to chill with lavender.
Another important use of lavender is that it helps people who suffer from insomnia. A study actually found that lavender, combined with sleep hygiene, improved sleep quality for students who had sleep issues. In another study, it was found that the scent of lavender can improve the quality and duration of sleep.
Now, if you’ve ever suffered from insomnia, you know that every little bit helps when fighting the good fight.
That is why you might want to try some alternative routes and hop on the lavender train.
There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray, love, remember;
and there is pansies, that’s for thoughts…
This brief line from Hamlet shows that even in Shakespeare’s time, rosemary was known for its link to memory.
But, if we go even further, we’ll find that its benefits were known even in ancient times – ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Romans and Hebrews used it to improve memory and even for protection.
It was even considered sacred.
The Greeks would wear rosemary garlands around their heads while studying. Now, if you’re a student running out of ideas on how to learn a whole book in a week, well, there’s your answer.
Rosemary garlands FTW, as the young would say.
Several studies have been conducted and proved that there is increase in memory retention when the scent of rosemary is included in the equation. However, not much is known on just how rosemary seems to give incredible results.
The main effects that the scent of rosemary can have include:
- Reducing stress and tension
- Fighting mental fatigue
- Boosting mental activity
- Encouraging clarity
- Improving alertness
- Improving your general mood
Another of the benefits of the scent is that it can boost your entire immune system. It does so by stimulating internal anti-oxidant activity.
In addition, it can eliminate headaches, which will surely improve your mood significantly. Also, if you’re suffering from throat and nasal congestion, rosemary’s your man.
Well, your plant.
It is widely used in aromatherapy in the form of essential oil, but you can also use it in the form of tea in the morning, when every one of us needs a little bit of help to start the day.
Aside from being great in every possible form of pastry you can imagine, cinnamon also has numerous health benefits.
Have you ever wondered why you feel happier simply by smelling the delicious baked goods full of cinnamon? Have you stopped and simply lingered, letting the scent flow over you and bring you to a simpler time?
Well, that’s the beauty of cinnamon. In all its baked glory.
Now, that doesn’t mean you should start baking (and especially not eating) 10 cinnamon buns a day.
Well, you could, but that wouldn’t be too healthy, now would it?
No, that simply means that there are other ways you can reap the benefits cinnamon has to offer, and one of them is through its scent.
When sniffed, cinnamon can reduce drowsiness and irritability. So it may be your perfect choice when you need that extra pick-me-up during the day.
Especially, and we all know this very well, if your head feels like it’s made of lead and it’s dragging you down for a nap.
A nap you can’t possibly take, since, you know, you’re at your place of work.
Cinnamon can also help you concentrate and perform better, which, in turn, can significantly help you with your job.
It is especially useful during those days, ladies, when your menstrual cramps are proving to be another nuisance on the road to a productive day. It can alleviate certain types of headaches and even various other types of pain.
Frankly, out of all aforementioned scents, cinnamon may be the easiest to use. It does not even need heat to harvest its aroma. You can simply put it in sachets and hang them where there is a slight breeze – for instance, above doorways or near windows. You can even scatter cinnamon powder over the soil of your house plants.
Another, quite useful way to use cinnamon and to get its aroma in a quick way is to boil it. You simply need to sprinkle a bit of powdered cinnamon into uncovered water and let it simmer for a while.
This might come as a surprise, but the scent of the common apple can be quite beneficial for you.
And this includes the most delicious pastry of all – apple pie.
Simply put, there’s nothing that a good apple pie cannot fix.
But, in all seriousness, apples in general are great for easing pain and alleviating tension.
It’s been proven that green apple scent can soothe migraines and even ease head and neck muscle spasms.
Also, it can reduce general anxiety and stress.
That will definitely leave you in a much better mood than you were before.
Especially if you’ve made pie.
But when I’m way up here, it’s crystal clear, that now I’m in a whole new world…
If you haven’t caught that reference, then the pun is pointless and it needs further explanation.
Which brings us to the main benefit of the scent of jasmine – namely, its uplifting capabilities.
You get it?
Jasmine sings a song about flying high in the sky, and jasmine has uplifting qualities?
Well, that pun’s ruined.
But what is not ruined is the fact that the scent of jasmine can produce a feeling of optimism, revitalized energy and a feeling of confidence.
Everything that we need from time to time.
Aside from that, jasmine can also be used to calm nerves.
Now, it’s a good thing that, due to its sweet fragrance, jasmine is actually used in some of the most famous perfumes, such as Chanel No. 5.
Also, it’s a common ingredient in desserts.
(There’s been too much talk about desserts, but that simply goes to show how much our senses of taste and smell are connected.)
A study has found that jasmine essential oil increases alertness and behavioral arousal. This also means that it can be useful in relieving symptoms of depression, and that it can improve your mood in general.
When inhaled, another study found, jasmine oil could affect brain activity, leaving participants feeling more energetic, more positive, and even more romantic.
So, if you’re trying to create the perfect atmosphere for wooing – you know what to do.
Use that jasmine perfume liberally or simply use a diffuser for a more permanent effect.