The Smells That Lead To Mental Wellness | Uncustomary
Lavender” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Ben Chun

How often have you caught an aroma that has suddenly transported you back to a moment in time? It may be the smell of a freshly baked apple pie coming out of the oven or the perfume your mom used to wear when you were a child.

Unlike our other senses, smell is one that connects directly to the most primitive part of our brains, the limbic system, so it is a very powerful way to trigger emotions. As well as creating a sense of nostalgia, this also means that we can rely on particular smells to induce certain moods or feelings, as these examples show.


When we smell citrus tones, whether from lemons, oranges or limes, it’s one of the most energy-boosting experiences we can have. That’s why orange juice is such a breakfast favorite. It’s possibly because we associate these fruits subconsciously with warm, sunny weather and the kinds of days when you just want to jump out of bed, throw the drapes wide and get out to enjoy life to the full.


The Smells That Lead To Mental Wellness | Uncustomary
Cinnamon” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by

Cinnamon, on the other hand, takes us to a very different place. This is one of the spices we tend to associate with family times like the holiday season in the Western world and, as a result, it promotes feelings of warmth and coziness. But it’s not all about relaxation with cinnamon. Some studies have found that it can help to make you more mentally aware of your surroundings and even improve your attention span.Lavender

It’s well known that lavender can instill feelings of relaxation and even help to treat insomnia. Its calming properties are thanks to an essential element called linalool, which is also one of the most commonly found of the marijuana terpenes. This is why many people who rely on cannabis oil to help reduce their anxiety choose varieties that are rich in linalool. However, any kind of lavender oil or fragrance can create similar effects.

Freshly-cut grass

The Smells That Lead To Mental Wellness | Uncustomary
Freshly Cut Grass” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by AJ_Hobbs

It’s ironic that the smell of freshly cut grass is actually an alarm signal being sent out by the individual blades in reaction to attack. For many of us, it can be one of the most evocative aromas there is, taking us back to carefree summer vacations that seemed like they might never end. So, for humans in the 21st century, freshly cut grass can stimulate feelings of joyful abandon – and that’s why it’s so often a top note in perfumes and other fragrances.


Peppermint isn’t just one of the most popular of aromatherapy essences; it’s good for us in so many ways, from aiding digestion to cooling the skin. But right now we’re talking about what its smell can do for us. It’s a positive energy booster that’s been shown to lift moods as well as help to alleviate anxiety and depression – and one of the best ways to get your daily fix is by switching to peppermint tea.

Of course, you’ll have your own special and significant aromas. So even if none of these quite do it for you, there are plenty more out there than can help you to be happier, healthier and more relaxed.