Winter can be a gloomy time. It can feel very long, and the lack of daylight combined with holiday stress can get some people pretty down. What’s interesting is that certain aromas or scents have been known to help lift your spirits during the winter blahs.
How Does It Work?
Our sense of smell is very powerful, and can have a profound impact on our feelings. Of course, you ultimately smell with your brain, and it’s this scent-brain connection that aromatherapy seeks to tap into.
Studies have shown that certain smells actually affect brain wave activity. For example, lavender induces brain waves associated with relaxation. Smelling bright, uplifting scents may generate brain activity that makes you feel much more alert and happy.
What Scents Are Best for Winter Blues?
To help combat the feelings of melancholy associated with winter, there are certain “sunny” scents that may lift your mood. One group of scents that is highly recommended for fighting sadness is citrus. This includes lemon, orange (sweet, bitter, and mandarin varieties), grapefruit, lime, and bergamot. Other scents that may help are sage, basil, ylang ylang, and jasmine. Ginger essential oil may also add zing to your mood.
Other popular essential oils with uplifting qualities include the mints, particularly peppermint and spearmint.
You can blend these in various proportions to achieve a pleasing, bright scent. Some ideas might be equal parts of all or some of the citrus oils; basil and grapefruit; jasmine and ylang ylang; ginger and lemon; or sage and bergamot. You could blend peppermint and ginger, too.
What Are the Best Sources of Scent?
It’s generally agreed that, regardless of what scent you choose, natural essential oils are the best. Synthetic fragrances can induce unpleasant reactions, such as chemical allergies, and may not have the same positive effect as natural scents.
To get these essential oils into your nose, you can try several methods.
* Massage – Mix 10 drops of your favorite blend or single essential oil with 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of carrier oil, such as sweet almond or castor oil. Rub some of this oil on your temples and apply to your wrists. If you’re lucky enough to get a massage, have your masseur use this mixture.
* Diffusion – Many health food stores and even mainstream retailers carry electric diffusers. You simply add drops of essential oil according to the instructions. This gets the scent throughout the room.
* Bath – Add a teaspoon or so of your massage oil to your bathwater and mix well.