The Power of Scent

Once you associate a particular smell with a certain emotion (linking mom’s fresh baked cookies to warmth and security, for example), just smelling it in the future may conjure those same emotions. To find out which scents are most likely to have the greatest impact, we combed through the latest studies on aromatherapy and aromacology (a.k.a, the study of scent and its effect on mental and physical health) and consulted with some of the leading experts in the field. Read on to learn which scents can boost your mood, calm you down, perk you up and more.

 

The Power of Scent

This interesting artcile was oringinally posted by Womens Day by Dana Gottesman. You can find the orginial here or follow the article below to learn how scent can be used to influence and enhance your everyday life.

 

Pep Up with Peppermint

Peppermint may help you feel more alert and think more clearly, says Rachel Herz, PhD, author of The Scent of Desire and Visiting Professor at Brown University. In fact, one study found that people who performed tasks like typing and alphabetizing did them more accurately after sniffing peppermint oil. Another study found that the peppermint may enhance physical performance and help you get more out of a workout. Try dabbing on a bit of a peppermint-scented body spray or lotion before hitting the gym for a quick boost.

 

Concentrate on Jasmine

The calming scent of jasmine may help you sleep more soundly, say researchers from Wheeling Jesuit University. Try showering with a jasmine-scented soap before bedtime or spritzing a jasmine room spray in your bedroom.

 

Smell the Roses...

and say so long to the blahs. People who made a point of looking at flowers first thing in the morning reported feeling cheerier and more energetic throughout the day, thanks to the combined effect of seeing and smelling them, according to Harvard researchers.

 

Surprise Yourself with Cinnamon

Aroma-therapists say that inhaling this spice improves mood, vigor and concentration. It might even make you kinder, according to a study sponsored by Cinnabon. When researchers released the smell of cinnamon into the air, passersby were more likely to be nice to fellow shoppers, says psychologist Avery Gilbert, PhD, author of What the Nose Knows. Just reading the word "cinnamon" activates the same part of the brain that lights up when you smell cinnamon, he adds. Try storing some of the spice in a satchel in your top desk drawer. Each time you open the drawer, you'll get a little boost.

 

Take a Coffee Break

We're so tuned in to coffee's energy-enhancing effects, say olfactory experts, that just smelling it will pump you up. According to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the aroma of coffee may even influence genes that counteract stress caused by sleep deprivation. Keep a small dish of beans on your desk for a java jolt.

 

Perk Up with Citrus

Want an instant pick-me-up in the middle of the workday? According to naturopath Michelle Schoffro Cook, natural scents like citrus increase oxygen flow to the brain, boosting energy and immune function.

 

Lift Your Mood with Lemon

Japanese scientists recently identified the part of the brain that lemon oil affects, lending credibility to its reputation as a mood-enhancer and source of stamina (one reason why you'll find it in so many air fresheners and energy drinks). For an easy 9and tasty!) way to reap its benefits, squeeze a wedge into your water glass.

 

Get Going with Grapefruit

Grapefruit may significantly increase memory and improve hand-eye coordination, says Dr. Herz. In a study from Wheeling Jesuit University, people who smelled grapefruit while completing a computer-based test scored higher and reacted more quickly than those who did not. Keep a grapefruit aromatherapy mist by your desk for an end-of-the-day pick me up.

 

Lather on Lavender

Stay relaxed during the day by smoothing on ahand cream that contains lavender. This plant contains linalool, which prompts your body to produce a calming compound. You could also try sprinkling some lavender oil in a bedside diffuser; in one study, people who did this fell asleep faster and stayed asleep longer, says Dr. Gilbert.

 

Find Balance with Geranium

More than just a pretty bloom, geranium is believed to stimulate certain areas of the brain that promote hormonal balance, which may help alleviate PMS and menopausal symptoms.

 

Calm Down Using Chamomile

Roman chamomile (a.k.a. English chamomile), a type of chamomile plant with daisy-like white flowers, has been found to calm and relax, improve sleep and help with stomach problems, according to the National Cancer Institute's studies of aromatherapy. Try sipping chamomile tea before bedtime or using a lotion that contains chamomile essential oil.