When I first heard that the things you smell can affect your mood (and not only affect your mood but CHANGE your mood) I was slightly skeptical. I mean, how could something that you breathe in actually create a mood shift? I knew that scents could be connected to memories but were they really powerful enough to change someone’s mood?
I decided to take a look at the science behind this crazy statement and walked away convinced of it’s truth. Basically, our brain has this area called the limbic system which processes our emotions; this system has a close relationship with our olfactory (smell) system which is why the smell of fresh baked cookies might make you think of your grandmother. It has also been shown that certain chemical compounds (which make up a scent) create certain emotional responses when people are exposed to those chemicals. There is a very exact science as to which chemicals do this and that is how people decide which smells to blend together to create certain moods.
Simply put, scents affect mood because they can bypass your logic center – the area of your brain telling you you should feel a certain way. They have this ability to evoke certain emotions or feelings (think of how you smell fire and might think danger or how you would smell a perfume and think that it is sensual). This makes the use of scents a very powerful influence in situations where you need help or want to help others with processing grief, forgiving others, increasing focus, decreasing irritability and sadness and much much more!
For example, most people are familiar with lavender creating a calming effect or peppermint creating an energizing effect. But even more fascinating is that blending certain smells together can create an emotional receptiveness to being forgiving or cheerful or sensual or having increased capacity to focus.
One of the best and most familiar ways to use smells for managing mood is with essential oils. You can buy single oils or blends of several oils that create certain influences on your mood or you can be creative yourself and buy the oils separately. By inhaling them or diffusing them into the air you can have a powerful impact on those breathing them in!
Here are a few different options of oils to use based on your mood:
- If discouraged or sad – Diffuse peppermint with wild orange or place one drop in palm of hand with one drop Wild Orange and inhale for a mid-day pick-me-up.
- If angry or irritable – Diffuse frankincense to promote feels of calm and overall wellness.
- If feeling stressed or anxious – Try diffusing bergamot essential oil in your work or home environment or applying to your skin during a shower.
- If you can’t sleep – Try diffusing lavender or putting a drop of lavender essential oil on your pillow before bed.
- If your unable to concentrate – Combine Douglas Fir with Wild Orange, Lemon, or Bergamot in a diffuser to freshen the air, uplift mood, and promote a sense of focus.
- If you are looking to increase that romance factor – Try diffusing Passion Blend or using it in a massage with a carrier oil (like fractionated coconut oil).
One of my favourite blends is of Sandalwood& Vetiver. I love to diffuse it or roll it on my wrists as a perfume. Sandalwood reduces feelings of tension and can uplift mood while vetiver can be very relaxing and ground your mood.
I also would highly recommend this kit containing 6 different easy-to-use roll-on blends that can be used for a variety of reasons from increasing motivation, creating feelings of peace, improving mood, or helping you feel like forgiving.
If you would like to purchase these oils or blends you can buy them here.
- To learn more about how mood and scents are related: