The Mood-Lifting Potential Of Smell & Scent

By Ben Hamill - November 09, 2019

Most people agree that they are more likely to remember experiences somehow connected to a specific emotion than otherwise. And the same goes for a specific scent. It all stands to perfectly good reason too as psychologists have long agreed that there is a direct correlation between memory and sensory perception.

But our ability to smell and appreciate and remember a specific scent serves a dual purpose. What we “smell” at any given time throughout our day also has a direct influence on how we feel, or in other words, on our mood.

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As Simple As Smell

The fact of the matter is, we could all do with a bit of a mood-boost. Various surveys indicate that Canadians are feeling stressed, anxious and disconnected from one another even. And the solution; or at least a big part of the solution; now appears to be a much more simple approach than what was previously assumed.

It’s as simple as spraying a room in which a significant portion of the day is spent with a “positive” scent. The ways in which to achieve this are numerous. Think essential oils and auto-release fragrances. And according to a recent study, when feeling anxious, think lemons. The smell of lemons can make for an instant mood-lift.

And it’s no poppycock theory either. According to Pamela Dalton, principal investigator at the Monell Chemical Senses Centre in Pennsylvania (yes, there really is such a thing as a chemical senses centre), research has clearly indicated that certain scents will not only change your mind-set in general, but also have the potential to “promote specific behaviour”.

Not All Scents Are Equal

It must at this stage be pointed out that even though whatever works for any individual would be the best course of action in terms of choosing a specific product, essential oils for example, are preferable to other manufactured fragrances.

This is true for a variety of reasons, not least of all the fact that they are really affordable and can even be produced at home. Best of all is that they offer more than just a general lifting of the spirits. Many essential oils contain anti-bacterial agents and as such will help ward off most colds and flues by keeping germs and bacteria at bay. This according to Beverley Hawkins, who is the owner of the West Coast Institute of Aromatherapy in Vancouver.

And there’s so much more to choose from than just lemon for fighting off anxiety. Try Rosemary for a boot under the bum on slow mornings, or Lavender to lower stress levels. And Jasmine; bless its herb-like soul; will calm our tattered nerves.

Solid proof then in support of what we’ve always known really; the nose knows.

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