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How Do Scents Improve Your Mood?

Updated: Feb 13

Those delicious cookies baking in your mother’s kitchen

The pink blossom trees outside your grandma's house in May

That one coffee you had in that small village in Spain

All come alive again, with just the slightest whiff of these aromas, causing a veritable flood of warm and fuzzy feelings.

A smell isn’t only a smell. It is a memory that becomes ingrained in our minds. Unlike other human senses, olfactory responses are linked to the emotional centre of our brains and correlate directly with our past experiences. This is why the smell of rain or the ocean or cookies baking, rocket us back to wherever we first experienced that particular smell.

Scents send signals to our limbic system, which is the sector of the brain that controls memory and emotion. According to a 2011 study, positive emotions which can be elicited by certain fragrances have been proven to lower stress levels and improve overall mental outlook.

This trinity of scent, memory and emotion explains why smells have the

power to influence our moods and psychological wellbeing.

According to Stephen Warrenburg of Oxford University, an aroma can significantly promote stress reduction and improve mood. Still another 2011 study conducted by Matsunaga et al, concluded that participants who smelled a nostalgic odor (one that was considered personal to each individual), experienced an autobiographic memory.

This was measured against a control odor, which was the same to all participants and did not evoke any memories or nostalgia. After smelling the nostalgic scent, the mood states of participants were altered. Happiness and feelings of comfort increased, and negative feelings, such as anxiety, had significantly decreased.

According to psychotherapist, Chryssa Chalkia

"Our sense of smell is incredibly powerful and shouldn’t be underestimated. The smell of the scented candle stimulates the part of your brain which is connected to memory and mood. From boosting energy through to relieving stress or even enhancing mental clarity, the healing properties coming from a lighted scented candle can deliver psychological effects."

Another study conducted by Keville and Green (2009) reports that imbalances of psychological wellbeing such as depression can be improved with the use of scented candles and oils. For example, scented candles can help reduce feelings of fear and anxiety, reducing stress and lifting mood.

SELENE offers a wide variety of aromas you can pick from such as fresh mangoes, strawberries, coconut, apples, sweet berries, forest cherries, jasmine and so many more.

Because of just how closely scent is linked to our emotions, simply lighting that rich scented candle could very well give you the mood boost you need.

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