There’s a reason certain smells cause nostalgia.
The smell of your mother baking cookies when you were a kid…
The crisp scent of fresh cut grass reminding you of hot summer days when your father was out mowing the grass…
Or the sweet smell of your grandmother’s perfume…
Memories associated with smell have been shown to last longer and be more detailed.
This effect even has a name…
It’s called the Proustian Memory Effect.
Essentially, this effect occurs because the limbic system (i.e., the part of your brain that deals with memory and emotion) also contains the contains the olfactory complex (i.e., the place in your brain that recognizes smells).
So it’s no wonder the smell of lilies instantly reminds you of your Granny.
If a simple smell can be so powerful, what kind of effect can fragrance have on your mental health?
How Can Fragrance Affect Mental Health?
As we mentioned, simple good ol’ nostalgia can have a pretty profound effect.
Thanks to the Proustian Memory Effect, those connections between smells and memories can in turn produce changes in your emotions.
For a quick rundown of events, your brain first registers the smell and connects it with those memories.
In turn, it produces all of the positive feelings that come with that memory.
All those good vibes come spilling back into your head, and for a brief second, you are transported back to when you were 6 years old hanging out with your grandmother.
And scents don’t just have to produce feelings of nostalgia.
It can most certainly promote feelings of powerful self confidence that will make you want to wake up in the morning and crush it.
Unfortunately, with the good, can come the bad…
Malodors (AKA “bad smells”) like sewage, garbage or really anything else that comes out of the body or is just stinky in general, can have some not so nice effects.
Over prolonged periods of time, malodors have been associated with depression and headaches.
Of course, you might just become habituated to the stench. For example, if you work at the garbage dump, you might not notice the smell of garbage after awhile, but that won’t prevent your brain from making associations, whether good or bad.
The bad stuff aside, here’s how we can improve our mental well-being with fragrance.
What notes and smells should I try if I’m looking to improve my mental health and personal well-being?
Naturally, there is a collective response to certain scents. It’s very likely you already have associations with smells already, even if you’re not that big into fragrance.
For example, citrus scents are typically associated with feeling fresh. Spraying on a citrus scent when you’re down may wake you up and make you feel better.
It’s no wonder most people associate the smell of citrus with being clean. Afterall, nearly every cleaning product is lemon or citrus scented.
What are other mental benefits of fragrance?
Need to grind to prepare for that exam? Or are you putting in late hours at the office?
A good scent can help with that too.
Not only will your associations with a scent play a role in improving your concentration, but certain smells have been found to sharpen your mental ability.
That extra edge you need can be found with a little peppermint (check out the study here).
Although participants used peppermint candies in the study, you can use a premium fragrance that contains peppermint (and doesn’t break the bank).
That extra edge is definitely worth a shot.
We’ve already discussed the powerful link between memory and smell association.
So the next time you need a memory boost, put this into action…
Before that next exam, spray on some fragrance while you’re studying. As the fragrance will stand out to you, the material you learn will be associated with that smell.
So when you walk into that exam room wearing that same fragrance…
You might just find a boost in recall thanks to the Proustian Memory Effect.
How to harness the power of fragrance
Since we know our brain creates powerful connections and associations with smells, we can use this to our advantage.
If you associate the smell of vanilla with your mother baking in the kitchen, spraying on a vanilla fragrance will “trigger” the association with the scent.
Leaving you with both nostalgia and pleasant memories of comfort.
What does each scent family help with?
Interestingly, there are some known associations between scent families and emotions.
Fresh scents tend to energize you and give the effect of “purifying yourself.”
Fruity fragrances, which includes citrus among other fruits, can help invigorate and wake you up.
Water or aquatic notes tend to have the effect of calming you down. Remember what Bruce Lee said?
Floral scents tend to be excellent for relieving stress and anxiety. While we’re not suggesting fragrance is a substitute for seeking help from a professional, a floral scent can help take the edge off a long hard day.
Woody scents tend to make one feel like a tree.
Steady, stable, and strong. Typically these notes occur at end of the scent, so the fragrance finishes off with stability.
Of course, scents will have varying effects on different people, as it depends on your personal association with that smell. The above breakdown of scent families is not necessarily true for everyone and is a general overview.
How to “trigger” yourself into changing your emotions and state
The first step is to repeat a series of actions on a routine basis.
It can be very basic. Simply applying two sprays of a citrus fragrance to pick up your mood before you leave your house every morning.
The important part is to focus on the feeling of confidence and energy you have while you spray on the fragrance.
Be conscious of what you feel and where you feel the positive state of wellbeing. For example, if a particular fragrance gives you a confidence boost, be aware of the feelings within your body. Feel how your chest sticks out further and how your posture straightens.
With time, the association will strengthen by continually spraying on fragrance.
We totally understand how this sounds like new age, “woo-woo” pseudoscience.
But give it a shot. You might be surprised just how quickly your brain begins to associate two things.
If you’re looking to create powerful new associations to better your well-being, there’s no better way than with 1000 Scents.
Try a new fragrance that won’t max out your credit card, while still finding a luxury scent that you actually like.
Because luxury should be affordable.
Until next time,
Luxury is affordable.