Powerful scents
eucalyptus scented oil

Powerful scents

Nothing is as powerful as our senses: sight, touch, taste, hearing and smell. And our power to smell scents is the topic of today. Who doesn’t feel safe smelling freshly baked bread or cookies like your mom used to bake? Who doesn’t feel lighter smelling rain on freshly cut grass? But why is scent important? Scents can guide our emotions just as much as music can, only in many ways a lot more subtle. But what smells work when? And what is out there to have the smell wherever you need it to be? Studies into this subject are called aromatherapy and I dove into this, so let’s get started.

Which scent achieves what?

Relaxing scents

Scents can relax you. This is partly due to associations you might have with a scent, like when you smell the laundry detergent your mom always used. However, some are especially known to be relaxing, regardless of your associations.


One of those scents is for instance lavender. Although there are not many studies done on how scent affects mood, lavender was part of a study that they did do. They found that lavender appeared to have similar effects as lorazepam in calming people down. This is probably due to linalool. Linalool in lavender scents tickle the olfactory nerves, causing the body to calm down. One of the interesting things is that linalool in benzodiazepines (medication against anxiety issues) causes restlessness, whereas this doesn’t seem to be the case when smelling lavender. Therefore, having some lavender oil to smell can be great on the go!


Another important scent in this area is rosemary. It has a woody smell and is often associated with cooking. However, not many people are aware of the fact that rosemary is also known to decrease the hormones in the body that cause you feeling stressed. Therefore, it’s a great scent when you’re feeling emotional or mental strain. Maybe you might want to have some rosemary oil in your desk at the office if needed.


Looking for something more subtle? In that case, jasmine might be something for you! This scent is known to help you sleep better and calm you down.With it’s soft, flowery scent, you’ll get used to it right away. I therefore prefer this scent as a home mist in my bedroom.

Feelings of cleanliness

Where some scents make you feel relaxed and calm, some can active you and make your environment feel clean. Many of those scent also have anti-bacterial properties, so it’s no wonder you feel cleaner, you are!


The first scent is eucalyptus. It helps you breathe better and it’s a great scent when you’re having a cold. It also heals cold sores, makes your breath fresher and it can disinfect wounds. Another benefit is that many animals hate this scent, so it keeps bugs and mice away. When I used to have mice in my home, I would always clean with eucalyptus scented all-purpose cleaner and they’d stay away from that spot for at least two days!


The second in the cleanliness area is peppermint! Although it’s also known to soothe and relax people, it is most widely used in breath fresheners, like chewing gum and tooth paste, to keep your breath smelling great. In addition, this scent is known to be great to clear your respiratory tract, so it’s great when you’re nauseous or when you’re having a cold.

Tea Tree

Another commonly used scent that’s often associated with cleanliness is tea tree. This oil is very good at boosting the immune system and disinfecting surfaces. It’s therefore no wonder that it’s often found in skin care products, but also in cleaning products for your home. I personally love the tea tree line from The Body Shop for people with an oily skin.

Energising scents

Scents can also make you feel more activated and ready to go. Therefore, these scents might be good to use in your study, at the office, but also in the gym!


Believe it or not, but studies have shown that even the scent of coffee can sharpen your brain. This can of course largely be due to the associations we have with coffee, but the effect was still significant. So if you don’t drink coffee yourself, you might still want to ask your colleague for a whiff of it.


Another scent that can get us through the day is the smell of something citrusy. Citrus scents have been known to stimulate our brains, which is perfect if you’re feeling low energy. In addition, many animals, especially mosquitoes don’t like the scent and they’ll stay away. This is why a citrus candle on your balcony is perfect in the summer. And that’s not even the best part: the smell also activates the serotonin in your body, making you happy as well!

How to implement scents into your life?

There are many ways use can implement all of these scents into you life. For instance, you can use scented candles and essential oils. However, with all of these options, you have to be aware of possible health risks. The smoke that comes with candles is not beneficial for everyone. Soy candles are already a better option, but still, if you have troubles with your lungs, you might want to discuss burning them with your general practitioner. Of course, one candle won’t kill you, but burning them regularly might negatively impact your health. The same goes for essential oils. Although many claims have been made about their benefits, there is also some evidence to suggest some risks. To be on the safe side, I personally don’t use them on my skin or use them as foods, I just infuse them into the room. But still, if you have lung issues, please contact your general practitioner. What I also use a lot is scented hand creams, since I can easily take it with me and use it whenever. I also adapt my perfume to my mood and use scented laundry detergent. However, again, some skin types are sensitive to perfumes in these products, so if you notice any allergic reactions, this might not be a good option for you. You can for instance also make little flower bags and hang them in your closet instead of using scented laundry detergent. Everyone is different and therefore you might need to specify all the available options to your specific needs.

All in all, there are many options to choose from. I definitely haven’t got around to discussing them all and many scents have several benefits (citrus smells are also often associated with cleanliness for instance). However, I hope this post inspired you to be more aware of the scents that surround you and their effects on you. If you’d like to read more about optimising the air surrounding you, you might like this post about clean air in your home is well!

What are your favourite scents? Let me know in the comments below! Also, please follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter, or subscribe and get an email every time I upload!

Lots of love,


Ps. I have put a couple of affiliate links in this article. This means that I earn a small commission if you buy something. This way, I can keep this blog going. However, if you don’t want to buy from my link, don’t feel pressured to do so!

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Hi there! My name is Lisa and I am the author of Mind and Body Intertwined. I have a bachelor's and a master's degree in psychology. During my study, I found out how much the mind and the body are connected and it fascinated me, which is why I started my blog. Would you like to join me on this little corner of the world?

21 Comments on “Powerful scents

  1. It’s crazy how a simple smell can change your mood completely. I have a calm balm to help me relax and sleep which has lavender it, and I love anything peppermint or eucalyptus because mint is just my favourite. Thanks for opening my eyes!

    Em x

  2. My favorite scents are peppermint, lavender, and eucalyptus. I mix pure essential oils with my nebulizing diffuser! It definitely helps put me in a good mood whenever I have a terrible day.

  3. A lovely read! One of my favourite scents is lavender!

    Amber | The Unpredicted Page

  4. Love this! Thank you for sharing 🙂 I’d like to get into aromatherapy more. And it’s nice to know the different scents for different things. I personally prefer clean scents 🙂 x

  5. I love this. I love the scent of jasmine. Citrus scents always wake up and feel happy! Food scents tend to make me feel hungry or want to bake

  6. HA HA! I never thought this way about scents. I really like your article, and I’ll implement scents according to my mood. Thank you for sharing this article.

  7. I love aromatherapy and try to use some version of it everyday, mostly being candles. My favorite scents are teakwood, lavender, jasmine, and rose. I love the way they smell and it definitely sets a mood inside my home. x

  8. I’m currently in love with sandalwood and have it burning in almost every room of my house. But lavender is usually popped on at night before bed time just to ease us over to sleep.
    Great selection of scents here.

    • Thank you so much! Sandalwood is lovely to! I love woody smells, I always have pine smell during Christmas. Lavender is great for sleep as well, it’s actually proven to be able to have as strong as an affect as lorazepam for anxiety on some, so that’s amazing!

  9. I had never really thought about how scents could influence my mood, so this was an interesting read. Although, I think peppermint would just remind me of cleaning my teeth

    • Haha yeah I can imagine, it did for me in the beginning to! Associations are a strong factor in the effectiveness as well.

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