There’s something so comforting about autumn, isn’t there?
Yes, there’s the dark mornings and it can be a bit chilly and damp, but the glorious colours and crispy, crunchy leaves are a delight. But perhaps what I love best are the scents – the smell in the air following a rainstorm, woodsmoke from a bonfire, blackberries and apples.
Scents make us feel emotions, triggering our memories – when we like the smell, our brains release feelgood hormones serotonin and dopamine.
There’s a lovely research study which suggested the smell of baked bread actually makes us kinder. Researchers posed as people needing help outside a bakery and a clothes shop. 77% of people outside the bakery helped, compared to 53% of people outside a clothes shop.
In the herb garden, nothing beats crushing rosemary or mint and inhaling deeply for an instant ‘oomph’. But in the evenings one of my favourite purchases has been a Zen diffuser, which I put on in the evening, trying different essential oils for relaxation or, when I’ve got work to finish, to focus. And it’s definitely made a difference.
Here’s five essential oils and what effect they can have:
- Rosemary. Now given to students to help them concentrate while revising or during exams, it has long been associated with memory, alertness and focus.
- Jasmine. A few drops of jasmine is relaxing, relieves anxiety and boosts confidence. It’s very very expensive though, so look for jasmine absolute which has been added to a carrier oil. Blending it with a few drops of frankincense for a lovely calming aroma
- May Chang (Litsea Cubea). Citrus smells are revitalising and refreshing, full of pep, and lemon will also make the room feel ‘cleaner’.
- Patchouli. I absolutely LOVE patchouli, although I know for some people this is a real Marmite smell! It’s a dusky, woody scent which is instant calm. Really lovely mixed with rose geranium (pelargonium graveloens)
- Clary Sage. Diffusing this oil, distilled from the flowers and leaves, is a great stressbuster if your day has been less than stellar. It stops your mind racing and helps to calm – perfect before bed if you struggle to ‘switch off’
What’s your favourite oil blends? I’d love to hear what you use! Leave a comment below