With the future still looking so uncertain, I find myself (and I don’t think I’m the only one here) looking for more and more ways to calm the anxiety, which even though it ebbs and flows, I am still very aware of being part of my life.
There are a multitude of ways we all have the power to reach an inner sense of calm – more of which I’m sure I’ll explore with you in future blog posts. After reading a paragraph from Calm by Fearne Cotton, I was inspired by the idea of us tuning into one of our senses to bring about a feeling of calm.
Are there smells that makes you feel happy? Remind you of a great holiday? Make you feel comforted? Certain scents have a way of making us feel happier and uplifted.
This is because the part of the brain that manages our emotions and memories is stimulated. This then produces the response of ‘feel good’ chemicals being released, which in turn lifts our mood.
It got me thinking exactly what my go-to uplifting scents are….
Not just any old body lotion though, it has to be Nivea. This is because when I was a young child I used to watch my Mum get out of the shower and apply body lotion. You guessed it, that body lotion was Nivea. The smell of it instantly takes me back to a time when a big hug from my Mum was all I needed to feel safe in the world.
I like the smell of pretty much every sun cream, but the one that sparks the most joy is Nivea. (this post is not an ad for Nivea, but clearly my house as a child was filled with the stuff)
It reminds me of fun family holidays dipping in and out of pools and building sandcastles on beaches. Then, in my teenage years, even more fun filled holidays with my girls. For me, it’s the nostalgic smell of being absolutely care free.
To be specific, just one Mediterranean country – Portugal. I was lucky enough to spend the majority of my childhood summers going on holiday to The Algarve.
From the moment I stepped off the plane, I remember a distinct smell hitting me – a combination of native plants and heat that’s almost indescribable. It was the background to so many happy memories I have of those summers. When I smell it I immediately have the feeling that I’m at home.
I have already started to incorporate some of these smells into my weekly routine so that I can get the uplifting hit and sense of calm that my body craves.
Every time I have a bath, I slather myself in Nivea lotion when I get out. Now that the weather actually feels like summer, I’ve been applying sun cream more regularly (you can guess the brand) before I head out on my walks in the sunshine.
Obviously getting that Mediterranean summer smell will be a little tricker considering travelling abroad is off the cards, but for now I’ll be content with making the most of the sunny days the UK has to offer – at a safe social distance of course.
Another way that we can bring the calming power of smell into our days is through Aromatherapy. I’m not going to lie, I did have to Google exactly what aromatherapy was before I started writing this post, but here goes…
Aromatherapy is a holistic healing treatment that uses natural plant extracts to promote health and well-being. Basically it’s the use of essential oils to improve mental and physical health. Sounds (or should I say smells lol) pretty good to me!
Essential oils apparently work best when you inhale them or they’re absorbed into the skin. So you can add a few drops to your bath, massage into your temples, or use in hot water for a facial steam. There’s lots of aromatherapy products like candles and diffusers infused with essential oils available too.
Here are the top 3 scents for promoting calm:
Lavender is thought to calm anxiety by impacting the limbic system, which is the part of the brain that controls emotions, and is probably the most famous smell for being calming.
There are so many companies that offer lavender essential oil pillow sprays for that reason, [like this one from The Body Shop] and it’s something I’m keen to invest in too, as my sleep has been a little all over the place during lock down – as I’m guessing yours has too.
This smell has been linked to stress relief and a Brazilian study showed that those inhaling a sweet orange essential oil scent found that their anxiety symptoms improved.
I have an aura spray (basically a room spray) that includes a citrus smell, and I spray it just before I get in the bath. It definitely has a soothing affect whilst I soak.
Probably better known for being one of the gifts from the three wise men, it does actually have therapeutic and healing properties. It’s benefits include relief from stress and anxiety and reduction of inflammation.
This is one that I’ve seen included in candle scents before, so I know it smells gorgeous, and after I’ve sorted out my pillow spray, will be next on my list to invest in.
What are your favourite uplifting smells and why? And do you use essential oils? If so, which ones? I’d love to hear – so share in the comments.
Featured image by Sean Kong on Unsplash
You may also like: How to Keep Calm in Uncertain Times
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