Aromatherapy: The Good Smells That Can Make You HappierWe take the power of scent too lightly. To surround self or surroundings with scent, even demurely, has tremendous potential.  

Aromatherapy can play a part in wellness, but its applications go way beyond the massage room at the spa. 

Some new takes on good smells — even some that you may recognize — follow below. And believe it or not, research backs up a lot of these findings.

For instance, dab a solid-gel flower scent (popularly sold by various makers) on your inner wrist. It can remind you of a behavioral habit you want to transform or bring you to a place of peace amid chaos of the coming day.

If you counsel or coach, bring scent into your office space with essential oil drops on the breeze of a blowing curtain. Lavender will help calm pets headed to the vet while showing guidance and a reassuring strength.

Essential oils (which are flowers, herbs and other organics) can be found at your local co-op, Whole Foods or from sites like Read up on the details of the natural world’s variety, sensing the uniqueness of jasmine or basil, and how each might affect your emotional makeup.

Experiment, too, with bringing in not only cut flowers for vases, but floating blooms in bowls of water for a particular room.  Flowers given to others are known gifts; when bought or given to the self in myriad form, they can be even more valuable.

Rosemary is clarifying; it can awaken all your senses and be utilized for energy.  It would serve yoga and ritual work equally well. To invoke meditation, help breathing, and get centered, sandalwood and clove bud make a good pairing. The faintest bit in therapy should draw out communication.

To cheer (as well as detoxify), grapefruit is amazing. Nothing will open channels quite like the uplift of this scent. Motivation problems? Try not just any old orange, but tangerine.

Tangerine, peppermint and eucalyptus can help with the mental focus and discipline involved in attempting new behavioral strategy and employing new coping mechanisms. And apparently rose absolute and geranium in equal measures brings balance of spirit and feeling of harmony. Why forgo that?

Who knows just how the mind works? Brain studies on health and illness are just beginning to take off now with much-needed research. In addition to significant knowledge likely to be gained about brain matter, structure and genetics, scent may be found to play a role.



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    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 5 Jun 2013
    Published on All rights reserved.

APA Reference
Miles, L. (2013). Aromatherapy: The Good Smells That Can Make You Happier. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 18, 2015, from


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