Every house has its own particular scent. Some are warm and inviting, others smell fresh and clean, and then there are those homes that aren’t so, how do we put this, ‘fragrant’ (you’re thinking of a particular one right now, aren’t you?). The problem is, whatever the scent, we usually become so used to it we don’t even register it. Except, perhaps, in those first few seconds when we open the front door after a long trip away. Remember those? We don’t either.
Now that our homes are more lived in than ever, they’re probably smellier than ever. Could it be time for a fragrance refresh? You bet. Especially if you’re feeling a little flat, as there is a direct connection to our limbic system from scent that helps to improve your mood, enhance memory and reduce stress and anxiety.
Choose your fragrance wisely though. Smelling vanilla or ylang ylang can help us relax when we are stressed; peppermint, rosemary or citrus can perk us up when we are struggling to focus. Also green, woody scents like myrtle, tea tree, cypress and eucalyptus, which connect you to the earth, can help you feel grounded. And, according to olfactory psychologists, floral scents trigger the release of dopamine – the brain’s natural ‘happiness’ chemical – meaning your scented space will enhance your mood the more time you spend in it.
When it comes to ensuring your favourite scent permeates through your home, give candles a helping hand by creating a gentle breeze (from a ceiling fan or an open window) as fragrance takes longer to circulate in still-air spaces. Also, try an ultrasonic aromatherapy diffuser, which is a powerful way to spread the lasting aroma around your home. And if you really want scents to linger for longer, spritz linen, curtain and cushions with a room spray that has at least one of your notes in the candle to ensure the whole effect is cohesive.
Above all, surrounding yourself with the smells that remind you of a happy time – a holiday or the perfume of a loved one – can be all it takes to help bring those good feelings flooding back. Known as the state-dependent reactivation of memories, moods and feelings, harnessing it could make you happier, one sniff at a time.
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