BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|
Since ancient times, smells have been considered a fundamental element in our daily life. Humans use odors to identify foods, dangers, and attraction signals. However, the relationship between odors and mental health has been a topic of interest in recent years. Studies suggest that smells can influence our mood, behavior, and emotions, which could potentially affect our mental wellbeing. In this article, we will explore the link between odors and mental health.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH  ) affirm, “Your sense of smell enriches your experience of the world around you. Different scents can change your mood, transport you back to a distant memory, and may even help you bond with loved ones. Your ability to smell also plays a key role in your health”. Additionally, the National Library of Medicine  considers that “the cortical areas of integration of the olfactory sensations are very large and have important interconnections with memory, language, and neuro-vegetative areas”.
Smell is so important that for example, “has been an integral part of evolution and survival of the fittest for our species in the past. Although humans rely less now on smell for survival, a huge importance is still placed on smell today for taste enjoyment and attracting a partner through the use of perfumes  .” So, how does our sense of smell influence our emotional wellbeing?
“Scents send signals to our limbic system, which is the sector of the brain that controls memory and emotion. According to a 2011 study  conducted by Masahiro et al, positive emotions, which can be elicited by certain fragrances, have been proven to lower stress levels and improve overall mental outlook  ”. Additionally, the Blog Air-Scent International affirms “the trinity of scent, memory and emotion explains why smells have the power to influence our moods and psychological wellbeing and why leading creators of ambient air care products rely on fragrances to evoke certain responses among consumers”.
In fact, several therapies use the sense of smell. For example, “olfactory training is a non-pharmacological and non-surgical treatment option for patients with olfactory dysfunction. Patients undergoing olfactory training expose themselves to a 4 different odors twice daily for at least 24 weeks  ”. Other example is Smell Retraining Therapy (SRT) that “is a treatment for the loss of smell, also referred to as hyposmia or anosmia. It can be used to help return your sense of smell if it was lost during a viral infection or minor head trauma  ”.
In short, the benefits of smells on mental health include improved mood, reduced stress and anxiety, enhanced cognitive performance, and better sleep quality. That is why we invite you to smell, look for relaxing aromas that help you maintain your appropriate environments so that your “emotional wellbeing smells of tranquility”.