Smell is the strongest of the senses, with our olfactory bulb (the part that deals with scent) directly connected to the areas of the brain that process emotion. This means that your sense of smell and your feelings are closely linked, which is why vanilla can be comforting, or the smell of coffee invigorating.
Julia Lawless, author, advises using this link to your advantage. ‘We can use scent as a very effective way to change our mood and lift our spirits,’ she says. To get the full benefits, she recommends using essential oils. ‘Because they are 100 per cent botanical, you benefit from their natural therapeutic properties – bringing about an enhanced sense of well-being.’
Below, Julia shares her own favorite scents with us. Simply use the following oils as pulse-point perfumes by applying them directly to the inner wrist or by putting a few drops on a pretty hankie or tissue.
1. Moroccan Rose
For when you’re dealing with a breakup
‘Rose has a soft, rich-floral perfume, which is comforting to the heart and nourishing to the soul,’ says Julia. ‘It helps soothe grief, heartache and disappointment, while promoting joy and happiness. Use the pure oil or apply in a 5 per cent dilution in coconut oil.’
For when you’re knackered after a long day
‘This is known as ‘Queen of the Night’ because the scent of the flowers is stronger after dark. This exquisite perfume creates a feeling of optimism and well-being and helps dispel depression and emotional exhaustion. Use the pure oil or a 5 per cent dilution.’
For when you’re still fuming after your commute
‘Neroli is extracted from orange blossoms and has a fresh, sweet-floral fragrance which immediately uplifts the spirits. It also soothes anxiety and agitation, so is perfect for bringing ease of mind to all kinds of stressful situations. Use the pure oil or 5 per cent dilution.’
4. Ylang ylang
For when you want to get in the mood
‘Meaning ‘flower of flowers’, ylang ylang is an exotic, sophisticated perfume and a traditional aphrodisiac,’ explains Julia. ‘It has a euphoric yet calming quality, which is valuable for giving you a sense of increased confidence, enthusiasm and romance. It can be used neat.’
For when you’re stressing too much to fall asleep
‘This was the classic Elizabethan scent used for perfuming gloves, handbags and linen,’ says Julia. ‘That’s because this soft-floral fragrance is profoundly relaxing: a natural remedy for restlessness & sleepless nights. Just apply a few drops to a warm bath, your pillow or hankie.’