Is there a particular scent that immediately makes you happy? Maybe it brings you back to your childhood, or it reminds you of someone you love or just a really good day that you've had. People often don't think much about it, myself included, but smell is the most powerful human sense of them all and shouldn't be underestimated.
As we continue to adjust to the current coronavirus situation, you may be able to find some comfort in leaning into scent by wearing your favourite perfume every day — yes, even those of us working from home alone. The theory behind this is the same as why putting on makeup or getting dressed in the morning, despite not going anywhere, can help boost your mood and even make you feel more productive.
"Comfort and security can come externally from things like support or therapy, but it also comes internally, from understanding what we need," psychotherapist Daryl Appleton, MD, told POPSUGAR. "Understanding what helps to calm and soothe, or make us feel strong and powerful, is unique and important." It's different for everyone, but looking to the five senses can help you reach an inner feeling of tranquility, happiness, or even confidence.
"Smell is a secret weapon in this arsenal that can be used to help us take on the task or moment at hand," said Dr. Appleton. "When we are surrounded by things that make us feel good — makeup, clothes, sounds, smells — statistically we tend to perform better because we feel better." So, putting on your favourite perfume can equate to the feeling you get when you put on a swipe of lipstick or mascara. "Having a scent on that makes you feel alert, ready, powerful, or calm can also boost your psychological arsenal to 'seizing the day.'"
There's a simple, psychological explanation for how scent works to boost your mood. "Smells through the olfactory system have strong ties to the memory and fear centreed of the brain (its why we love that new baby smell or can pick up smoke or gas smells as a warning super quickly)," said Dr. Appleton. "Our signature scent is more than just something we like; it can be tied into our confidence and linked to our ability to self-soothe by reminding us of times when we felt powerful."
There's no one size fits all when it comes to finding a scent that speaks to you personally, but you can help narrow down your search by looking at specific smell profiles. "We typically see citrus smells linked to feeling 'awake' or 'clean' which could help boost mood. Other people have noted liking earthy or woody scents that help them feel grounded. For calm, we see lavender and eucalyptus as crowd favourites."
To fully experience the power of your feel-good perfume, Dr. Appleton recommends experimenting with different options and being intentional with your choice.