Discover how essential oils affect emotions

Essential oils have their personalities due to how they smell and how they affect the way we feel. Some are gentle and relaxing, others are restorative and uplifting. The third make us feel centred and calm. There are quite a number of essential oils that can help you unwind, give you more energy, ease worries, assist you in releasing anxieties.

Essential oils offer a natural way to care for yourself and people around you, create a comforting home, build happiness. They are about transformation and self-care.

Aromatherapy is known as a ‘feel good therapy’, when the pleasant smell of the essential oil contributes to a sense of well-being. During the past decade, researches have been conducted to measure the effects of smells on the human psyche.


The olfactory system, a molecular detector, has the capacity to identify odorants. Olfaction begins in the nasal cavity. The sensitivity of the olfactory system is extraordinary. We are able to distinguish between at least 10,000 different odorants. When an odorant enters the nasal cavity, it binds to odorant receptors.

The olfactory bulb is where the olfactory messages are initially processed and then sent to the brain area known as limbic system or the ‘nose’ brain. Limbic system is heavily committed in the expression of emotion.

Together with the hypothalamus, the limbic system initiates and governs emotional drives as well as evokes behavioural mechanisms. One of the most important functions of the hypothalamus is the control of the autonomic nervous system and regulation of heart rate, blood pressure, level of hormones, respiration, and digestion.

Regulation of these functions depends on two systems. One is sympathetic nervous system that prepares the body for fight and flight, raising the heart rate and the blood pressure, and decreasing digestive activity, since the blood flow is needed elsewhere. The parasympathetic nervous system does the reverse, preparing the body for more vegetative activities.

Therefore, we understand that the hypothalamus plays a vital role in regulating body functions and activities during times of stress, and essential oils can play a very important rlse in the management of stress due to their influence on the limbic system and hypothalamus.

We wear fragrances because they make us feel good

Fragrance has the ability to affect creativity, mood and health. And emotion is not just reflex mechanism. Emotion is connected to the developing brain areas. Emotion elevates our human behaviour to the more refined or civilised forms.

We may take into consideration the following factors to assess an individual reaction to a particular smell:

Biological: physiological effect on the body, lavender is relaxing, and basil is stimulating.

Archetypal: universal associations, rose suggests femininity, love, and sweetness in all cultures.

Cultural: certain scents take on specific meaning to the cultural factors involved, frankincense is significant in many Christian religions.

Individual: personal associations, preferences due to first-hand experience, either positive or negative.

How essential oils affect emotions

In general, pleasant aromas tend to enhance creativity, generate more positive evaluations of words and pictures of people, elicit more happy memories.

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