Roanoke Valley Family July 2020

Page 38

Scentsational! 7 Natural Scents to Help Boost Our Mood By Sandi Schwartz

We are all familiar with the adage “stop and smell the roses.” It helps us remember to take a moment and appreciate what we have and the beauty of simple things like a bed of flowers in our neighborhood. This saying also points to the interesting fact that fragrances naturally occurring in our environment can help us to relax and boost our mood. Indeed, our sense of smell is one tool that we can easily tap into to reduce tension and stress. That is why there is a 72-billion-dollar perfume industry and an over onebillion-dollar aromatherapy industry. From massage oils to incense to trendy perfumes, there are tons of delicious-smelling options to make us feel happier and calmer. We can easily purchase these fragrances to make us feel better, but it’s also fun to try to find these natural scents outside and share them with our children. Here are some of the most relaxing natural scents, according to science.


Family • July 2020

Lavender There is no scent more relaxing than lavender. Extracted from the fresh flower of the lavender plant, the oil has been shown to have sedating effects that help our body and mind relax. Its antioxidant components can lower the level of stress hormones in our body and soothe our nerves to relieve anxiety and depression. Visit a garden with lavender or plant your own around your home. Lavender is also available in many forms that you can purchase, including aromatherapy oil, bath gels, extracts, infusions, lotions, soaps, teas, tinctures, and whole dried flowers. When your children are stressed and before they go to sleep at night, try spraying some lavender for anxiety or rubbing some lavender lotion to calm them. Jasmine Jasmine is another floral scent that is known to lift our mood. A 2010

study found that the smell of jasmine creates a sense of alertness and reduces sad thoughts. It is used to calm nerves and as an anti-depressant because of its uplifting capabilities that produce a feeling of confidence, optimism, and revitalized energy. Grow your own jasmine plants and enjoy their fragrance or grab some jasmine aromatherapy oils. Pine The smell of pine trees is also known to relieve stress. In one Japanese study, participants who went on a walk through a pine forest said that they felt significantly lower levels of depression and stress. If you live near a pine forest, take the kids for an enjoyable and relaxing hike as you breathe in the aroma of pine. If you do not live near pine trees, then consider planning a getaway to experience them in person. You can always enjoy some pine-scented aromatherapy oils, as well.

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