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The perfume of your ex-lover can give you goosebumps, while a whiff of fresh baked goods conjures up feelings of warm comfort and homeyness. It is a fact that fragrances can have quite a powerful effect on our mood. Fine fragrance perfumer Elise Benat explains how this works and most importantly; how you can use it to your advantage.

Have you ever felt re-energized after inhaling a fresh scent? Or more relaxed after lighting a scented candle in the evening? It’s the living proof that specific scents are capable of triggering certain moods. A very important insight for Rituals in our mission to help you slow down and enjoy daily life more mindfully.

Scent has an effect on your mood because of a thing called ‘associative learning’. Our brain associates specific things with each other due to past experiences. This is called olfactory memory. The part of the brain responsible for receiving information about odours is linked to areas of the brain that deal with emotions. This explains why the smell of a certain perfume reminds you of your mother or why the scent of crayons brings up childhood memories. The emotions of that time will probably come back to you, because they are connected.

In order for a scent to elicit any sort of response from you, you first need to associate it with an event. For instance, flowers are usually linked to positive memories like happy celebrations, which is why floral fragrances tend to make us a little happier. Although some people might associate certain flowers with unpleasant memories. After all it is all in the nose of the beholder.

The smell of citrus is often associated with energy and refreshment. For me this has to do with a certain crispness and vibrancy that alerts your brain. When we inhale a lemon-based fragrance for example, it induces an emotional response which has a considerable impact on our state of mind and can help make us feel alert and refreshed straightaway. This mechanism explains how you come to love or dislike a scent, as well as how they can conjure up emotions and influence moods.

How to boost your mood

The effect of scents on our mood is something that can easily be taken advantage of. When you feel run down, tired, stressed or simply a bit sad, try an uplifting scent to boost your mood, like the Ritual of Laughing Buddha for example. Need some relaxation? The Ritual of Dao with its soft powdery combination of ingredients is for me very soothing and relaxing. In the coming weeks I will share lots of facts about which Rituals scents can help you on your way to induce more relaxation, energy or that invigorated feeling. So keep your eyes peeled and your nose ready.

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