Contributed by Naqiyah Attarwala – Mombati Writers Group (MWG)
Fragrances have been used for centuries by men and women alike to make us smell good while feeling good. Most people will have a preferred scent or fragrance oil not only because they like the way it smells but because of the way it makes them feel. This is due to the fact that odours can play an important part in your mood and behaviour because of the connotations and memories associated with it.
The way it works is through the process of associative learning. This is a process whereby a person’s past experiences causes them to form links to other events or memories. The response to these links is what determines whether or not you like a fragrance and how it affects your mood. Your mood then influences your behaviour and how you think. Studies have shown that people in a positive mood display greater levels of creativity and creative problem solving. Furthermore, a positive mood has proven to contribute to greater productivity and performance. A scent that you like is likely to affect not only your mood but even your heart rate and the rate at which you blink your eyes.
This ability can certainly come in handy in your practical life as well. For example, you can use a certain scent as a memory enhancer while studying for an exam and then use the same scent during the exam for better memory recall. Additionally, scents can be associated with certain individuals and evoke feelings of that person. Spas and relaxation centres are known to use fragrances such as lavender, eucalyptus and jasmine to help their customers relax and put them at ease. Jasmine is also a common essential oil used to enhance sleep quality and increase brain waves associated with deep sleep. Adversely, people who suffer a loss of smell, temporarily or otherwise, can often fall into feelings of depression.
Fragrance oil manufacturers have become familiar with the types of scents that people usually find pleasant. These include the fragrance of freshly baked cookies, roasting coffee and fresh flowers. These scents are then used by businesses everywhere as a marketing tactic to entice customers into their stores. Putting consumers in a positive state of mind will encourage them to purchase more things and spend more time in the store.
Sweet smelling fragrances have the magical ability to activate certain opioid systems in the brain and can help in reducing pain. Similarly the scent of peppermint has invigorating qualities that cause an increase in brain activity. Some athletes and fitness enthusiasts dab a few drops of peppermint essential oil in their wristbands to keep them motivated throughout their workouts and exercise sessions. Fragrance oil companies have untapped an enormous market for aroma oil diffusers which can now be created and customized to any environment.
Our sense of smell gives us the temporary ability to shape our environment and our mood and this amazing power is often overlooked and undervalued. Studies and research show that smell can indeed affect our moods in both a positive and negative way.
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