Gardens make me emotional
The smell of freshly cut grass instantly transports me to the seaside caravan park where I spent the sunshine of my youth. My family spent every summer there soaking up the Scottish sun (there seemed to be more sunshine back then) in front of their compact two bedroom van.
My grandparents watched on whilst my brothers and I cooled off in the world’s smallest paddling pool. The caravan park was filled with house-proud residents, so most afternoons were spent trimming hedges and perfectly pruning plants.
My other set of grandparents were keen gardeners and grew flowers and tended to a huge vegetable patch. The warming, earthy scent of a greenhouse is still so comforting to me, that I often find myself wandering around the Botanical Gardens in search of ‘home’. When I feel lost and emotionally spent the temperature, moist air and smell of greenery fills my heart with something powerful. It’s a sentimental feeling both sad and happy at the same time.
So how can we control our moods with fragrance?
The power of fragrance is something that we all succumb to, and is all part of the subconscious mental connected we have to specific scents. Neuroscientist Rachel Herz says that attaching meaning to an odor is what actually gives it personal significance and leads to the forming of nerve connections linking to our emotions.
Herz says the capacities for both smell and emotion are rooted in the same network of brain structures, the limbic system. The olfactory center also interacts directly with the hippocampus, a brain area involved in the formation of new memories. “No other senses have this kind of deep access,” Herz says.
This means we can use smells to our advantage, and people have even used their sense of smell to help with sitting tests or remembering certain facts.
I’ve used smells to help me remember a loved one, like I spoke about earlier. I can enter a greenhouse, or even just smell the vine on a fresh tomato and I’ll remember my grandpa. Like every other 90s kid I can take one whiff of The Body Shop White Musk and remember every school disco I ever attended in excruciating detail.
According to psychologists you can also use your sense of smell to help create a calming atmosphere. Pick a memorable odour, then pair that with a relaxing meditation session and after repeated use, the odour itself will enduce a relaxed state, even when you don’t have time to meditate – Psychology Today.
Fragrance is part of our identity
For most people the fragrance we use isn’t just a scent to throw on before we leave the house, it’s about making a statement about how we feel or want to be perceived. They evoke memories, give us confidence, make us feel sexy, calm or even sleepy.
Various research has documented the relationship between fragrance and our mood with some changing our mind-set positively. Together with the help of The Fragrance Shop, I’ve identified some of the most powerful feel good fragrances which can help boot your mood.
Bergamot is an essential oil with renowned properties for lifting your mood, reducing anxious thoughts and feelings to leave you feeling calmer. Once used this cleansing scent will leave you feeling awake and refreshed. This is perfect for helping you wind down after a stressful day or before heading into a big meeting.
Extracted from the Jasmine flower, this scent has been shown to boost productivity and focus, whilst also having a positive impact on your mood. Great for late night study sessions or doing something complicated (IKEA flat pack anyone?)
Exposure to lavender scent can decrease heart rate. Use the scent for unwinding at bedtime, suggests Avery Gilbert, a sensory psychologist in Montclair, New Jersey. Or take several whiffs to recharge yourself during work breaks. Japanese researchers find that the practice helps prevent an afternoon slump in concentration. I personally love to use a lavender spray on my pillow before bedtime as a signal to my brain that it’s time to switch off.
Limonene is an ingredient which is found in the peels of lemon and other citrus fruits. Citrus scents are known to help to promote concentration and have calming and clarifying properties. These scents also help when people are feeling angry, anxious or run down. I like to incorporate this into my showering or evening fragrance routine when I’ve been working overtime or doing a lot of heavy lifting at the gym.
Mixed Floral Fragrance
Research has proven that a mixed-floral fragrance makes people learn faster than in a fragrance free zone. I can’t say I’ve had any personal experience of this but I have always gravitated towards a floral fragrance as my everyday scent. It’s one of those little daily rituals that helps me feel more ‘me’.
Extracted from apples, this scent can help to reduce headache symptoms as well as help to shorten migraine episodes. Perfect for tension headaches and other stress related symptoms. Apple odor also helps to control feelings of anxiety during stressful moments and helps us to feel calm.
My favourite feel good fragrances
This sophisticated scent opens with juicy top notes of citrus, rich floral heart notes and decadent woods which combine to create a feminine and sensual scent. It has notes of lemon, fresh mandarin and of course opulent rose. To me this is a classic fragrance, with those familiar rich vanilla, musk and amber notes to give it a truly unforgettable signature. The packaging is lovely and compact, with the beautiful rose gold detailing which it totally my thang.
Continuing on with the rose gold packaging, this Missguided scent is designed to evoke a feeling of strength, confidence and femininity. The box even comes with 10 Babe Power commandments which I think it actually pretty cute. I do LOVE my positive affirmations! The scent is as feminine as you’d expect it to be, and the perfect night out fragrance for me.
It bursts with zesty grapefruit and sour cherry, sharpened with crisp apple and pink pepper. At its heart, orange blossom is accentuated with soft peony and jasmine for a succulent signature; while vanilla, creamy musk, playful candy floss and amber crystals combine to leave a provocative lasting impression.
This one is definitely the most subtle fragrance I’ve used of late. Normally one to enjoy a bubblegum sweet scent, this opens with juicy top notes of raspberry and orange, invigorated with a zesty accord of bergamot. At its heart Muguet (lily of the valley) combined with Jasmine add a fresh and floral depth. Perfect for an understated everyday perfume, Lovelily will help calm and soothe your mind whilst giving you a little boost when your need it.
What’s your favourite feel good fragrance?
Contains PR samples
Hi Fiona I am new to your blog and can relate all too well to much of what you say. I have found that aromatherapy is amazing. Have you ever checked out Young Living. I don’t work for them or promote them or anything, I have just used their oils in a diffuser for a long time, helps calm me or pick up my mood – depending on the day!
No I haven’t, thanks for the recommendation tho I’ll look that up!