Your environment can have a major impact on your mood, and one way to enhance your environment is through scent. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, aromatherapy has been around for centuries in healing and healthcare. When inhaled, the pleasant-scented molecules activate endorphins – the chemicals your body releases to combat pain or stress and that improve your sense of well-being.
Aromatherapy can help combat anxiety, depression, nausea, insomnia, low appetite, and general stress, not just for you but for the people around you, too. Here are our top six ways you can make your daily life smell (and feel) amazing.
There’s a reason that fresh linen is one of the top scents of candles and air fresheners. Something about the scent of freshly washed clothes just makes you feel clean and fresh. Many laundry detergents use harsh chemicals – including their fragrances, causing skin irritation that outweighs the scent benefits. Finding a nature-friendly, fresh-smelling luxury laundry detergent that uses plant-based enzymes instead of caustic chemicals is both healthier for you, safer for the environment, and gentler on your clothes. Use wool dryer balls or unscented dryer sheets to avoid competing scents.
Fresh flowers can liven up any room with a splash of color and a pleasant aroma. The most fragrant flowers include gardenias, scented geraniums, lavender, orchids, jasmine, lily of the valley, plumeria, and of course roses. Whether or not you grow your flowers or purchase bouquets at the florists, adding these to your home can be a delight for your eyes and nose.
If you have pollen allergies or fresh flowers just aren’t your thing, the use of artificial flowers is a good option. Silk flowers have come a long way and can even fool the most discriminating eye, except what about the fragrance? Simply add one drop of pure essential oil to every or each flower in your bouquet. Jasmine rose oil, lavender, or other floral oils can add just the right amount of fragrance to your simulated blossoms.
Aside from flowers, an assortment of other plants placed throughout your space can provide a delicious natural smell – and you can add some of them to your latest recipe when cooking dinner. Most are easy to grow and require little maintenance. The most pleasing scents come from lavender, lemon basil, garden sage, lemon balm, peppermint, rosemary, chives, cilantro, dill, and thyme. You don’t need a lot, and there are even windowsill kits that come with small pots, soil, and seeds. Just add sunlight and water!
Potpourri is not just a category on Jeopardy, it is a mixture of flowers, herbs, and essential oils specifically created for its pleasing scent. Both dried and simmered versions can have your home and space smelling better. You can create your own potpourri or buy some from a retailer. If you have fresh flowers from your bouquet, they can dry and be placed in a satchel as potpourri.
We mentioned adding essential oils to your artificial flowers, but these drops are extremely potent and must be used safely. Diffusers work well in filling a large space with great smells. However, consider the sensitivities or allergies of others when using them in a public place, remembering that some oils can cause adverse reactions in children. A wide variety of aromatherapy accessories, such as necklaces, bracelets, misters, and keychains.
There are various books and websites with essential oil recipes – formulas combining a few drops of different oils for different results from reducing stress to calming anxiety to boosting energy. You’ll also want to read the effects of each individual oil in the blend. For example, peppermint oil is good in the morning because it wakes you up and increases alertness. You may not want to add it to your evening blend for the same reasons.
Keep in mind that essential oils are not fragrance oils, which often contain artificial materials and chemicals. Look for dark glass bottles that contain “100% pure essential oils” when shopping for.
There are good scent sources and there are poor ones. In general, paraffin-based candles with scents like “spring day” or “calypso sun” use chemical scents and dirty-burning wax – two unhealthy things. Soy candles scented with essential oils are a much cleaner alternative. Many spray air fresheners use similar chemicals unless they are 100% natural. A few drops of essential oil blended in a spray bottle of distilled water is a desirable alternative.
Working to improve the smells around you is an excellent way to improve your world. Not only will the result be pleasing aromas, but conscious and deliberate action to improve your mood and that of those around you is rewarding itself.