How Scents Influence Brain Function

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It’s a well-known fact that scent can trigger memory, but as Dr. Dirk and Northstar explain, it has the power to do a whole lot more.

“Scent impacts the brain in powerful ways, influencing every aspect of our lives, from money matters to sleep, from hygiene to productivity and mood,” says Dr. Dirk.

Here are four things you should know about scent:

Increases Spending. It’s not uncommon to hear of companies spending major bucks to professionally scent their stores, and the reasoning extends far beyond wanting to create a pleasant shopping experience. A 2012 study featured in LiveScience showed that simple smells such as citrus or pine require less mental energy to process, and in turn, keep your mind free to concentrate on shopping.

Tip: Short on cash? Stay out of high-end stores.

Boosts Energy, Improve Concentration. Scents such as peppermint, eucalyptus, coffee and cinnamon have been known to boost energy, allowing for better concentration on tasks at hand. Keep some essential peppermint oil or coffee beans nearby for when you need a little pick-me-up.

Tip: Essential oils are absorbed most quickly when placed on the bottoms of feet.

Sweetens Dreams. Lavender has long been used to battle insomnia and promote more restful sleep, but floral scents may also be beneficial at nighttime. A study conducted by the University of Heidelberg found that of men and women exposed to the smell of flowers, hydrogen sulfide or no scent at all before bed, those with the pleasant smell experienced more pleasant dreams.

Tip: Keep fresh flowers by the bed or place a drop of essential oil on each temple and breath deeply.

Calms Anxiety. Deep breathing exercises (in through the nose, out through the mouth) are a great way to relieve anxiety, but when coupled with calming scents such as lavender and jasmine, they’re even more effective.

Tip: Place a drop of essential oil on a cloth and inhale.