The Power of Scents: How Smells Impact Your Mood

The Power of Scents: How Smells Impact Your Mood

When you walk by a bakery, you tend to notice the smell emanating from the building. Freshly-baked pies, frosted cakes, chocolate chip cookies—aromas can immediately grab your attention.

What about unfavorable smells, like trash, animal dander, and dirty clothes? It can transform your mood from content to uncomfortable. So let’s discuss the power of scents and how they impact your mood.

Brings Out Relaxation or Stress

There’s a significant difference in how you react to pleasant and unfavorable scents. One moment, you could smell the scent of sandalwood from your bedroom; the next, you smell week-old trash emanating from your kitchen. Knowing the smells you love and hate can quickly impact how you feel.

Understanding your favorite scents matters so that you can create a favorable environment. Good scents let you focus on getting work done or allow you to unwind. Unfavorable scents can cause discomfort, nausea, headaches, and stress when least expected. Finding a signature scent for your home, office, or car can immediately improve your mood.

Smells and Memories Intertwine

Do you ever walk by a bakery, retail shop, or family home and catch a whiff of something familiar? It can send you into a spiral of forgotten memories that you can vividly see, like a sense of déjà vu. People are more likely to remember something based on smell since it’s 100 times stronger than other senses, like hearing, tasting, or touching.

Remembering through a specific smell is due to olfactory bulbs in the limbic system connecting to the amygdala (emotional center) and the hippocampus (associative learning). No other systems have this specific type of intimate linking, thus why smells and odors can trigger emotional connections from the past.

Impacts Work Performance

Different smells can impact our moods—lavender, chamomile, and vanilla can help you feel relaxed and soothed after a long day. Alternatively, scents such as citrus, lemon, cypress, and peppermint can make you feel revitalized and energized.

When you surround yourself with energizing scents, you’ll feel more motivated and focused on getting work done. Whether doing chores around the house or finishing a time-consuming work report, a whiff of grapefruit and tea tree can perk you up.

Whether you catch a whiff of baked apple pies, your neighbor’s fresh-cut lawn, or your partner’s cologne, it can immediately alter your thoughts and place you in a completely different mindset.