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How Scents Can Change Your Mood for the Better

07/16/2015 12:50 EDT | Updated 07/16/2016 05:59 EDT
Martin Barraud

I love lavender (so relaxing!) and any floral scent. This will put a little spring in my step. When I am working at my desk, I will take little breaks throughout the day and use a scent spray or have scented candles burning to help me stay alert and calm while working.

To find out the latest tips on how scents can enhance your mood, I spoke with Kristina Tsiriotakis from L'Occitane and she shared with me some of the benefits of scents, which scents are on trend this season and how to make a scent last longer...

How can scents rebalance a person's well being?

Scent has the ability to impact well-being in a very powerful way. Our olfactory centre is directly linked to the emotional and memory centres in our brain, which are all bound up in the limbic system, the most ancient part of the brain. This means when we smell we literally feel and create memories. No other sense has this kind of impact on the brain. Choosing particular scents can have a very positive impact on our feelings and emotions, a practice more commonly known as Aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy is a form of alternative therapy that uses the essential oils for the purpose of altering a person's mood or cognitive health. There are particular scents that can impact the brain in a specific way, by either promoting calm or stimulation, and these are the scents that Aromatherapists traditionally turn to. That said, any scent that is associated with a positive memory can impact the brain positively and the scents that we tend to like are scents we have usually formed our own positive memories with.

Which scents in particular help restore a person's well-being?

Lavender has been used for centuries for its calming abilities, which can help ease mind and body and promote a more restful sleep. It works on calming the nervous system and slowing the heart rate down, and stimulating the waves in the brain that promote a deeper and more restful sleep. Similarly, essential oils like geranium, bergamot, sweet orange and mandarin are used by aromatherapists to help with nervous energy and stress.

Jasmine and vanilla have also been used to promote rest and relaxation, and also works on slowing the heart rate and nervous system down. They can activate opiod systems in the brain, which promote pleasure and joy.

Which scents will help bring a reinvigorating sense for a person?

Citrus scents boost the production of serotonin, a hormone that makes us feel happy, and reduce levels of norepinephrine, a stress hormone. This makes them the aromatherapy go-to for energizing and re-invigorating. These include lemon, orange, grapefruit and verbena. Stimulating scents like juniper, cypress, rosemary, mint and eucalyptis also have the ability to boost energy and clarity in the mind. These stimulants acts as vasodialotors, literally boosting blood flow simply by smelling them.

When can you use these scents (at work, at home or traveling)?

Re-invigorating scents are a perfect way to start your day. They will give you a better boost than a cup of coffee. They can be used in a shower gel or body lotion, or applied as a fragrance. They are perfect to re-apply throughout the day for energy, whether it be at work, while running errands or at the gym. They are often turned to during busy work or study periods for mental clarity and endurance.

Relaxing scents are a perfect way to unwind after a long day and are ideal to help you get ready for bed in the evening. They can be applied in a shower or bath product for an evening soak, and are a treat in a bath salt or bath oil. Additionally, relaxing sachets tucked into your pillow or a relaxing lotion kept by the bedside are a great way to end your long and often stressful day.

How to store scents so they last a long time?

Scents should be stored in a cool dry place so that the essential oils which can be more volatile, remain true to their scent and most active.

Any other tips on using scents to bring a sense of well-being?

Incorporating scent into one's life can be as simple as drinking a cup of mint tea at work, burning a scented candle or applying a few drops of a relaxing essential oil to a water bottle and spritzing the air when stuck in traffic or during a hectic day when you miss lunch. One doesn't have to wait for a fancy spa day to experiencing the power of scent for wellness, nor should we consider these days to be a treat or out of the ordinary.

The key is to remember that scent is our first sense and a powerful tool for wellness and small changes in our routine, like using essential oil based beauty care products, can have a big impact on our mood, energy and wellness. We can all be aromatherapists!

Even switching over to essential oil based hair care is an easy way to experience the rebalancing power of essential oils on a more daily basis.

As an added bonus, essential oils treat the scalp and hair!

I will continue to enjoy scents for my well being and will share my experiences. If you have ideas or questions about relaxation tips please leave a comment below and I will do my best to find the answer for you.

Your suggestions are always welcome, as I continue on my journey to enjoy life to the fullest. Let's have the very best 2015!

Visit Sacha daily at SachaD.com

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