How scents can affect our mood and emotions is more scientific than you may be aware. I interviewed a psychology of smell expert to ask more, and to find out specifically what to expect from the upcoming autumn scents. Here’s the interview…
How Scents Can Affect Our Mood and Emotions
Lisa LaGrou Oakland County Moms – Why does our sense of smell have the ability to affect our mood and spark various feelings, especially as the seasons change?
Rachel Herz, Ph.D. – So, our sense of smell is the only sensory system that is directly wired into the parts of the brain where our emotion and memory are processed. So, it has this uniquely priveleged access to getting at our feelings instantaneously, and getting at our associations immediately as well. And, as the seasons change, it’s an opportunity for transformation and we want to be in touch with the seasons and we want to be in touch with our feelings and fragrances are the best way to do that.
Lisa LaGrou Oakland County Moms – What are some common fragrances that people are drawn to this time of year, that is the upcoming autumn season?
Rachel Herz, Ph.D. – That’s a great question and actually the reason why I partnered with Glade for this and it’s because they have a new autumn collection of three different fragrances that really capitalize on the traditional fragrances of things like pumpkin, and patchouli, and apple spice and so forth, but they have taken it to a new level and brought it into something more mysterious and glamorous to take you out of your comfort zone and to really develop something different and unique and so you can feel the season in this way by bringing in those kinds of scents into your home and doing something different with them, something unique to yourself. And, because smells trigger our emotions so immediately and so intensely, fragrance – more so than seeing something or touching something or hearing something – although those are also really good accents to bring in your home for the new season, it’s really scent that’s going to transform your mood.
Lisa LaGrou Oakland County Moms – What are the prime scents of the seasons that evoke the most positive feelings? How scents can affect our mood?
Rachel Herz, Ph.D. – Well, I don’t want to say that there’s any scent in particular that evokes the most positive feelings universally. Certainly, we like when fragrances match the seasons, so like I said…an apple spice smell or cinnamon smells or sort of a dark autumn night kind of smell like patchouli smells, mint, leather and so forth…those are all great fragrance notes. But, it’s really the individual. You, in particular, could have a set of fragrances that for you are really invigorating and energizing and your neighbor or your best friend could have different ones. So, the whole idea is about exploring and finding out what your fragrance palette is best suited to, and what really makes you feel the best. So this is about exploring and discovering yourself as well as once you find a fragrance, maybe taking it a little one step beyond. So, rather than going with something you’ve already always used, go to something new that can bring in some new invigoration.
Lisa LaGrou Oakland County Moms – How can we use scents to evoke feelings? Are diffusers with essential oils effective?
Rachel Herz, Ph.D. – Any way that you can get a fragrance is the way to go. So, you can do that, you can burn candles, whatever suits you the most and you can do a combination of all those things. You can have different things in different rooms going on. You can also layer fragrances so you have blends which can also create a new fragrance just for you. And, like I said, in one part of the house you can have a plug-in, another part of the house you could have a candle… whatever you like to do the best. And again, kind of exploring your own scentscape that way. I like to say… just follow your nose to where it takes you to your heart.
Lisa LaGrou Oakland County Moms – Why is it important to update your fragrances as the seasons change?
Rachel Herz, Ph.D. – Basically, with the new seasons you have a new sense of self. The different seasons have different meanings so we want to be able to embrace the seasons rather than kind of shying away from them. I find that often people think of fall as oh no, summer’s over, less daylight, it’s getting colder outside, new responsibilities…But, I think this time of year is especially important to have invigorating, motivating scents so that’s why if you can get fragrances that really inspire and evoke energizing feelings… that way you can embrace this new season rather than shying away from it. And, the other thing is that just by bringing new scents in, you don’t want to just have the same old, same old all the time. You want to be able to perceive the most that you can from your fragrance so bringing in new scents and by switching it up and sort of having a collection is the best way to do that.
For more info on How Scents Can Affect Our Mood and Emotions, visit Glade.com
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