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How Scent Affects Your Mood

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The senses are truly an exciting part of being human. From tasting a delicious meal, to feeling the touch of a loved one while they hold your hand, you can’t help but think how bland life would be without our senses! This is no different for our sense of smell. If you’ve ever smelt fresh flowers and felt your soul dancing, or woken up to the smell of the rain on a cozy evening, you’ll know what we’re talking about! Scents can have an amazing effect on our brain and scents affect our mood.

Certain scents can flood our minds with nostalgia as they remind us of our childhood. Scents also have the fascinating ability to enhance and uplift our moods! Join us on an aromatic journey to explore the profound impact of scent on our mood and unlock the benefits of aromatherapy!

How Does Scent Affect Your Mood?

Woman smelling a flower

How scent affects your mood.

Many scents contain powerful mood-enhancing capabilities, from increasing alertness and focus to promoting a sense of calm and relaxation. Additionally, the link between aromas and memory is very strong. It’s intriguing how certain smells can transport us to another time and place, and provide such vivid and clear memories. This happens in the limbic system, which is the part of the brain responsible for regulating our mood. It  also plays a big role in storing and processing memories.

Various scientific studies have proven the link between inhaling pleasant scents and improving our mental state and wellness. For example, research published in “Frontiers in Human Neuroscience” in 2014 explored the effects of pleasant and unpleasant odors on emotional processing. The study found that certain aromas can modulate emotional responses and positively influence the limbic system’s activity.

The Alchemy of Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is the practice of using naturally-derived scents to directly improve our overall health and wellbeing. The idea behind the alchemy of aromatherapy is that through the right scents and blends of essential oils, we can use aromatherapy to holistically improve our body, mind and spirit. 

We’ve used the term alchemy, because it’s frequently linked to the process of transforming commonplace materials into something valuable or refined. Much like the alchemist’s effort to turn lead into gold. In the context of aromatherapy, the term “alchemy” refers to the transformation of one’s emotional state, mental clarity, and physical well-being through the scents obtained from essential oils.

Aromatherapy is a holistic approach to wellness which takes into account the mind, body and soul. It is a practice that has its roots deep in ancient cultures, with the Greeks, Egyptians and Chinese cultures all practicing aromatherapy to a certain extent. These ancient cultures were amongst the first to understand that aromatic substances have the potential to create positive and profound changes in one’s life. If this all sounds a little too far out there for you, then keep reading, because most of these concepts are now backed by modern-day science!

Uplift Your Spirits With Floral Scents

Woman sniffing a oink flower

Uplift your mood with floral scents.

With mental health awareness on the rise, many people have begun exploring the effects of floral fragrances and their ability to boost our mood. For example, several studies have examined the impact of lavender scent on anxiety and stress. One such study, published in “The International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice” in 2013, indicated that inhaling lavender essential oil can reduce anxiety and potentially influence the limbic system to promote relaxation

Not only does inhaling lavender promote calm, but by increasing relaxation it may have the ability to reduce stress levels and promote better sleep quality. This leads to a calmer state of mind and increased quality of life. Although lavender is likely the most popular floral scent for aromatherapy, chamomile and jasmine essential oils also have the ability to promote feelings of calm and increase relaxation in the limbic system of the brain. 

The Energizing Power of Spicy Fragrances 

While floral fragrances can promote calm, researchers have shown that fragrances derived from a range of herbs and spices such as cinnamon, ginger, and clove, among others, have the ability to boost productivity and energize the body and mind. Inhaling these fragrances can help increase alertness and mental clarity. Wait so you’re telling me sniffing ginger is going to make me more productive? It might seem a little far fetched, but on paper there are studies to back these claims! 

A study published in the “Journal of Ethnopharmacology” in 2013 investigated the stimulating effects of ginger essential oil. The study found that inhaling ginger essential oil increased both the blood pressure and heart rate in healthy adult participants, suggesting a potential energizing effect! In addition to having energizing properties, spicy fragrances can also enhance your mood! A study published in “Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry” in 2014 examined the mood-enhancing effects of cinnamon essential oil. The research suggested that cinnamon essential oil may have antidepressant-like effects by modulating certain neurotransmitters

The Invigorating Impact of Mint 

Peppermint essential oil.

What if we told you that peppermint essential oil can stimulate the brain, increase focus, and improve concentration? Would you believe us? Well, a study published in the “International Journal of Neuroscience” in 2003 explored the effects of peppermint essential oil on mental alertness and cognitive performance. The study indicated that surprisingly, inhaling peppermint oil improved memory and increased alertness!

It’s believed that mint essential oils have this effect on our brains because of its stimulating and soothing effects on our sense of smell. Inhaling minty scents can also aid in clearing nasal congestion. Additionally, they can open up our airways, allowing us to breathe easier and more efficiently. This makes them great for seasonal flus and allergies. They can also benefit people who are struggling with anxiety. By clearing the airways and allowing more air flow, peppermint essential oil can help us breathe more clearly and fight off unwanted anxiety attacks. 

Ground Yourself With Earthy Scents

When we talk about earthy scents in aromatherapy we’re talking about essential oils that are derived from roots. They can also be derived from woods and even certain herbs. These scents help to ground us by evoking feelings of connection to nature. This can be a very beneficial life hack in the modern world. Especially as the concrete jungles around us are only seeming to become more concrete. It can be very difficult to feel the connection to nature these days. Even more so for people who are living in big cities. 

By using earthy scents such as rosemary, eucalyptus and cedarwood, you can transport yourself to a forest or mountain top from the comfort of your own home! Earthy scents are very popular amongst individuals who practice mindfulness and meditation. These scents can help meditation and drastically reduce the noise created by outside distractions. Furthermore, we often associate earthy aromas with balance, which further explains how earthy scents can make us feel connected to mother nature.

Discover Coziness With Warm Scents

Pillow, tea, and candle next to window.

Discover coziness with warm scents.

Not a lot of things in life beat cuddling up in bed with a soft blanket. Then you hear the rain gently pitter-pattering outside your window. Just when you think you couldn’t be any more comfortable and relaxed, we’re here to let you in on a little secret! Aromatherapy with warm scents such as sandalwood, vanilla and nutmeg can all help to create a cozy and relaxing atmosphere. So even if it’s not raining, these essential oils have the potential to help you unwind. They’ll also help you embrace the art of cuddling up and doing nothing!

Researchers have also shown that these essential oils have potential benefits for medical patients in stress-filled hospital settings. Relaxing can be very difficult in these situations. A study published in “Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice” in 2015 found that inhaling sandalwood essential oil reduced anxiety. The research also show that it improved mood in breast cancer patients. Additionally, vanilla, with its sweet and comforting aroma, has also successfully been used in hospital settings. A study published in the journal “Chemical Senses” in 2005 found that the scent of vanilla reduced anxiety and stress in hospital patients. The positive affects were particularly seen in pediatric patients.  

Start Your Day Right With Citrus Scents

The essential oils derived from fruits such as lemon, oranges, and grapefruits are known to energize the mind and body. Research published in “Psychoneuroendocrinology” in 2014 investigated the effects of lemon essential oil on mood and cognitive performance. The study indicated that lemon oil inhalation had positive effects on mood and increased attention in a group of volunteers. 

This means that starting your day off with the scents of citrus can have a significant effect on your overall mood. It also affects outlook on the day. Start your day feeling energized and refreshed. You’ll be better equipped to tackle the challenges that may lay ahead of you. Scents can improve your motivation and mindset. Essential oils also have the power to give you an energy boost to start your day the right way


Our sense of smell, often underestimated, holds the power to transport us through time. It can also evoke memories, and change our emotional state. Embrace the world of aromatherapy, experiment with scents that resonate with you. Let the power of fragrance change your life! Whether it’s relaxation, focus, motivation, or simply a moment of peace you’re seeking, aromatherapy offers a fragrant path to enhanced well-being. So start each day with your favorite scent! Let the journey of aromatic wellness unfold before you, one breath at a time. Carpe diem!