The Psychology of Scents

Campfires and warm wood stoves.

Freshly baked cookies.

Ocean breeze.

Scent is powerful.

Just thinking about these familiar smells makes us feel all sorts of internal emotional drama - both good and bad. You may have even felt like you could actually smell what you just read. This is because your sense of smell happens almost entirely in your brain and is meant to function as a warning bell for potentially dangerous situations. You know which smells you’re likely to avoid - and for good reason!

Similarly, scent functions as a vouch for safety in your environment. Your subconscious emotional responses are guided by these primal feelings of fight and flight or rest and digest. For centuries, humans have consciously used natural smell responses to take control of our day-to-day, from mental wellbeing to physical and emotional healing. Usually, it is the more pleasant scents that help you direct your responses to situations.

The Psychology of a Good Scent

Girl wearing a hat smelling lavender in a field

So, what happens, neurologically, that allows you to use good scents to your psychological advantage? 

Most of the benefits in this space reside in emotion which is controlled by your limbic system. According to Fifth Sense, “The limbic system comprises a set of structures within the brain that are regarded by scientists as playing a major role in controlling mood, memory, behaviour and emotion.” Interestingly, your limbic and olfactory systems are closely tied. Your olfactory system is responsible for the action of smelling which reinforces the natural association between scent and these innate responses. 

Since humans are able to distinguish many thousands of different odours from a young age, it is no surprise that childhood memories linked to scent stay with people throughout life. This is called the “Proustian memory effect” which is one element in establishing what is considered a good scent. Other factors include your natural, innate healing and restorative responses to certain smells. 

Scent Benefits

  • Looking to relieve anxiety and stress?

    • TRY: Orange, Lily of the Valley, Jasmine, Frankincense, Bergamot, Geranium plant, Ylang-Ylang, or Valerian scents. 

  • Need a mood boost?
    • TRY: Frankincense, Rosemary, Ylang-Ylang, Eucalyptus
  • Want some calm and relaxation in your life?
    • TRY: Lavender, Vanilla, Citrus, Chamomile, Lily of the Valley
  • Is sleep troubling you?
    • TRY: Lavender, Jasmine, Valerian, Damask Rose (also good for your libido!) 
  • Feeling under the weather?
    • TRY: Lemon (nausea) and Eucalyptus (headaches and clogged sinuses)
  • Ready to energize your mind and body?
    • TRY: Lemon, Cedar-wood, Citrus, Peppermint, Rosemary, Grapefruit, Cinnamon (Great for creativity!)
  • Need a sense of calmness, security, and to increase happiness? 
    •  TRY: Lily of the valley. It is commonly used to relieve depression symptoms, create a sense of calm and security which boosts happiness. 

Powerhouse Scent Combos 

apothecary bottles and herbal plants, Lavender, Rose and flower pedals

Eucalyptus & white tea - Cures what ails you!

While Eucalyptus eases headaches and helps with clogged sinuses, white tea takes care of the rest: antiseptic, anti-fungal, anti-nausea, antibacterial, and even a bug repellant.

Eucalyptus & lavender - R&R when you need it most.

It’s hard to sleep with a pounding head due to clogged sinuses. Let the soothing smell of lavender help you to drift into a sleepy calm while eucalyptus eases the hurt in your head.

Cinnamon & vanilla - Get creative!

It’s easier to be innovative when you’re cool and calm which is exactly what the smell of vanilla will give you just before the tickling scent of cinnamon reinvigorates your creativity muscle to spur you into imaginative action. 

Cedar, sandalwood, and frankincense. 

Frankincense bridges the calming effects of sandalwood with cedar’s ability to energize your mood, mind, and body. You can hone in on your creativity and joy while being productive and stress-free throughout your day.

Scents, the Environment, & Your Health

You now know the amazing effects of using scents in your day to day and how it works but how should you go about adding these scents into your lifestyle in a way that is safe for you and the environment?

Coming Soon at LYMB

Love Your Mother Boutique Candles

Love Your Mother Boutique (LYMB) has your solution in the form of soy candles. 

Soy candles are not only biodegradable, non-toxic, and phthalate-free but they also burn clean (minimal soot) so the air stays clear for you and your loved ones. Their wood wick allows for a slow, satisfying burn while releasing natural, renewable sourced scents into your home. 

The first scents coming to LYMB are:

  • Lily of the valley
  • Eucalyptus and white tea
  • Fresh air scent 

Whether you are looking for a soothing scent, to freshen up your air, or to boost your mood, we’ll have a candle for you. 


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