The Power of Fragrance to Reduce Anxiety



Fragrance and scents can have a powerful effect on our mood, particularly feelings of anxiety. It is another fantastic tool that you can have at your disposal when your emotions are running wild.


According to traditional folk medicine, the smell of some plants can calm the nerves.


Lavender is particularly well known for its calming properties. For this reason, I tell most of my clients to keep a small bottle of lavender oil on hand for when they feel anxious thoughts brewing. New research is now supporting this traditional wisdom.  One compound present in lavender has been shown to lessen anxiety via the limbic system, with the scent stimulating the nose to pass signals to the brain.

 

Additionally, If you practice mindfulness or meditation, try smelling lavender during your practice. Over time, you’ll associate the feeling of relaxation with that scent, making it even more effective.


Scents are abundant within our natural environment, so it's no surprise that people undergoing stress are often encouraged to get outdoors.


Have you heard of forest bathing?  The scent of the forest and nature itself has an incredible effect on the nervous system.  Research shows that exposure to nature stimulates a 55% increase in parasympathetic nervous system activity, promoting rest and relaxation, whilst stimulating a 7% decrease in sympathetic nervous system activity, which is involved in our flight or fight response.  It also stimulates a 12% drop in levels of the stress hormone cortisol, leading to a significant decrease in heart rate and improved immune function, which is a welcome bonus as we enter the colder months!


So what are you waiting for?  Get outside in nature and allow your senses to soak up the sights, sounds, scents, textures, and feelings of the forest.


And for those times when you need to stay indoors, dab some lavender on your wrists or inhale it using a diffuser.  You can purchase lavender oil at my online store or simply ask me about it at your next appointment

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