The secret relationship between scents and anxiety

Your physical and mental health are deeply connected not only to one another but to your environment as well. Your sense of smell has a great impact on you: it can affect the way you feel, meaning that you can feel better when you smell something nice, but it can also help alleviate some of the symptoms of anxiety. For most people, smells are closely connected to memories, and just as they can help improve your mood, they might have a negative impact on you as well.

Reduce anxiety with pleasant scents

Reduce anxiety with pleasant scents

Although it is not scientifically proven that bad smells can directly cause anxiety, it is noticed that aromatherapy can help anxious people deal with their problems and help them calm down. No matter if it’s placebo or not, it works, and that’s the only thing that matters to people with anxiety. The idea is to choose the scent you love and “train” your mind to associate the smell with positive emotions and the feeling of safety. You can do this by using essential oils, perfumes or creams when you relax: when taking a bath, reading a book, and listening to your favorite music. This is how you can use this smell you’ve learned to connect to a positive emotion and the feeling of safety to relax when you’re feeling stressed.

Aromatherapy oils precautions 

Aromatherapy oils are more popular than ever, but before we reach for them, we should try to learn a bit more, because there are certain risks involved when you use them. Because aromatherapy oils can be expensive, many choose to buy cheaper products, but these pose a risk for your health because they aren’t completely natural and not always pure. These products could cause headaches or dizziness if used too often, and they could also cause breathing issues or trigger allergic reactions. This is why you shouldn’t be afraid to pay more for quality products. Scented candles are a good alternative because they are cheaper and equally effective, so you could try buying wholesale candles and using them in your home. You could also place a different candle in every room: lavender for the bedroom, citrus for the kitchen and rose for your living room.

Sensitivity to smells

Sensitivity to smells

The way you perceive your own body smells can help improve your mood or make it worse. If your clothes don’t smell the way you’d like, it can make you see yourself in bad light or it can be the cause of intrusive thoughts. This usually happens to people who are hypersensitive to smells (suffer from hyperosmia) and this condition, even though not as common as a loss of smell, can lead to depression and anxiety.

People with hyperosmia can feel discomfort or even outright get sick from being exposed to certain smells, but even those who don’t suffer from it can become overly sensitive to smells when they experience an anxiety attack. What is more, there are also people who experience anxiety attacks out of fear that their clothes, skin or hair smell bad to others, even when they’ve gone to great lengths to wear clean clothes and put on some perfume.

When we talk about sensitive topics such as mental health and anxiety, it is very important to point out that there isn’t a magical way to suddenly be free of everything that triggers anxiety attacks. Your mental health should be high on your priority list, and you should explore different ways to help you stay calm and deal with them if they do happen. Aromatherapy is useful, yet you shouldn’t rely on it alone, but rather combine it with professional therapy sessions.

About the author

Diana Smith

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