How Scents Can Improve Your Mood At Home

We associate smells with memories and smells stimulate our perception of the world.

We associate smells with memories and smells stimulate our perception of the world!

It’s nice to impress guests with a clean, good smelling house, but did you know certain scents improve your mood and behavior at home?

The olfactory and the immune system are the only chemical systems in our body that can quickly identify, make sense of, and memorize new molecules. The olfactory system (our sense of smell) allows us to detect odor molecules and turn the sensations they stimulate in our nose into part of the way we perceive the world. This is because the olfactory bulb interacts closely with our limbic system. The limbic system is responsible for learning, motivation, emotion, and memory.

How Memories Create our Reactions to Odors

In the limbic system the amygdala processes our emotions and the hippocampus is responsible for associative learning. When we smell something as a child our brain processes the sensation through it’s intimate connection with the amygdala and the hippocampus, and we learn to associate scents and odors with an experience. For instance if you were around cigarette smoke while in the comfort of your mothers womb, you will associate that smell as comforting. While some kids might hate the smell of cigarette smoke, others will like it because of the memories and experiences it is associated with. This is called a conditioned response.

Using Scents to Improve Your Mood

Realtor marketers have long been using good smells to put their clients at ease by baking a pie or cookies before a client comes to look at a house. However, if you can utilize what you now know about yourself and smells that you like or have close memories with, you can better improve your day to day experience at home.

Here are some ideas to think about when deciding on scents for your home:

  • Think back to your favorite places you went or things you did when you were younger: your grandparents house, the park, baking, or flowers.
  • Find ways to bring back those experiences in your home through scented candles, incense, baking cookies, or essential oils.
  • Think about experiences you want to have or dream about. Maybe you want a log cabin in the middle of a pine forest or to harvest lavender in the hills of France.
  • Find candles or oils that represent these experiences.

Using Common Stimulating Smells

Another interesting aspect of our sense of smell is how some scents naturally stimulate our mind or calm us down. Perhaps you have a study in your house and you’d like to walk in and take a deep breath before you get ready to work. Using smells like jasmine and lemon can help improve your cognitive performance.

Here are six common smells that have been proven to improve your mood and productivity:

  • Jasmine – for a calming effect and a boost in confidence
  • Lemon – for concentration and cognitive clarity
  • Lavender – for calming effect and control of emotional stress
  • Rosemary – for a boost in memory retention and relief from mental fatigue
  • Cinnamon – for improved focus and relief from mental fatigue
  • Peppermint – for energy boost and mind stimulation

Experiment with different scents to see how they make you feel. Being conscious of keeping odors out of your house and of what odors  you want to bring into your house is a simple and fun way to improve your health.