Trust the science – that’s what I always say! A study conducted at Northumbria University told us what I feel we intuitively know – aroma has an impact on us. More specifically smelling essential oils can affect our mood! The study showed that the smell of lavender and rosemary both improved contentedness. Now I don’t know about you, but I like to feel content.
Delving further into the science tells me that this may be caused by something called the hedonic valence mechanism. Basically, does the experience of something make us feel good or bad or how much pleasure or displeasure do we experience when doing the thing we’re doing. Our mood is shaped as a result of this mechanism. We smell something nice we feel good. Simple.
And mood is so important.
Our mood shapes how we are feeling and how we are feeling drives our motivation to do whatever it is we are trying to do. The better the mood we are in the more positive our world view.
Self-care is so important in shaping our mood both in the moment when we are self-caring and when we have reengaged with whatever tasks are required of us. When we move our attention away from outward cognition to a more inward focus we activate a part of our brain called the default mode network. This is a series of interconnected parts of our brain that get to work on making sense of everything we have seen and done while we have been outwardly focussed. Have you ever had one of those moments when a solution to a problem just comes to you when you weren’t even consciously thinking about it? That’s your default mode network! The more we rest the more complex our default mode network becomes and the more complex it becomes the more our capacity for self-awareness is enhanced. And the more self-aware you are the better you are able to navigate your way through life.
But, like most people, being able to switch off to the external world and relax can prove challenging for many of us… and in steps self-care in the form of aroma and such things as smelly candles. I love candles and I love fragrant ones even more.
I’ve been burning one of Hot Wax’s range of hand-poured, plant-based creations. Specifically, the Eucalyptus and Rosemary one. So, I’m experiencing that contentedness from the Rosemary that the Northumbria University study discovered and that is helping me relax more. Add into that the Eucalyptus, renowned for its ability to relieve mental exhaustion and rejuvenate the human spirit, and it’s a win-win situation.
So, trust the science. Buy a candle and drift away. Make it part of your regular self-care strategy. Small changes of a period of time create big results.
Stephen J. Mordue writes and talks about how self-care is a strategy to promote both well-being and productivity. You can find more of his stuff at selfcareshorts.com