Why is it that one whiff of clean laundry can instantly conjure the happy feelings you had as a little kid when you helped your mom "fold" the clothes? Because the cells in your nose that detect scents in the air (aka olfactory receptors) have a direct connection to the brain's limbic system — the regions that control both memory and emotion. It's no surprise, then, that certain scents alone can influence your emotions and even encourage certain healthy behaviors. In fact, that's what aromatherapy is all about. Ready to try it with your family? Check out these easy ideas:
Improve Sleep with Lavender
Lavender-scented body wash or bubble bath, room spray, or even a candle (with your supervision, of course!) will help your little tyke calm down before nodding off. Jasmine-scented linen spray can also be misted onto pillows and blankets just before bed to encourage deep sleep and help your child wake up the next morning alert and ready for the day.
Boost Your Energy with Peppermint
Peppermint does more than freshen your breath. The brisk scent not only improves mental focus, it can actually make you physically feel more active. Rub a little essential oil on your wrists or temples, or chew strong mint gum to get you going the next time you exercise, run errands or just need a little pick-me-up.
Reduce Stress with Sweet Scents
Sweet smells can help lower stress and anxiety, especially orange and vanilla. The next time your child is nervous for a big test or about to enter a stressful situation, like a recital, have him use a little vanilla-scented body lotion or peel and eat a fresh orange.