The Power Of Scent - How Fragrances Can Affect Your Mood
A lingering waft of scent can transport us to another time and place with extraordinary vividness as our sense of smell is directly connected to the limbic system, the primitive part of our brain where emotions and memories are stored and processed.
Fragrance and memory are clearly intertwined: whether it is the pervasive herby aromas of a first Mediterranean holiday, the woody scents of an autumn evening, the exotic smell of spices simmering in your grandmother’s kitchen, or the perfume worn by your first girlfriend.
Fragrances do more than stimulate memory and desire, they can also affect our behaviour in the present moment, triggering a physiological response. Many fragrances possess strong associative properties, and work easily to alter the mood, promoting increased alertness and positivity, or creating feelings of calm, tranquillity and relaxation. They can be helpful in alleviating stress, easing insomnia, providing clarity and focus. Refreshing and revitalising scents include: orange, citrus, grapefruit, lemon, lime, cypress, eucalyptus, peppermint, pine, tea tree, thyme. Calming and relaxing scents include: vanilla, lavender, sandalwood, rosewood, frankincense, neroli, chamomile and jasmine.
Clearly the simplest way to detect these benefits is to sample the fragrances, but make sure you do it when you’re feeling in fine physical fettle and in a good, upbeat mood, as your body will be balanced and your olfactory sensory system will be functioning at its peak. Give a fragrance time to develop on your skin; after about 20 minutes the fresh citrusy top notes will give way to the flowery, spicy and woody heart notes. Everyone experiences fragrances differently, because of the unique personal emotions that are associated with them. However, recent scientific research has proved that most people tend to prefer scents that they can correctly identify, such as vanilla or cut grass.
By choosing to wear a fragrance you are finding an effective way to enhance your wellbeing and self-esteem. It is therefore not surprising that many of us choose to continue to wear a fragrance even during the lockdown when we are physically not sharing space with other people and only interacting digitally, as its confidence-boosting qualities are perennially beneficial to us and afford a degree of emotional comfort.
Given the undeniable power of scent to positively influence mood, it seems sensible to use fragrance as tool in your armoury, which along with your choice of clothing and your perfect grooming, can project strong and positive associations to the world. A signature fragrance will become something that confers distinction upon you, that will make you stand out from the crowd and will make you memorable. Your fragrance is the finishing touch to the clothes you wear, as much an accessory as cufflinks or ties. So find a fragrance that reflects your mood, the occasion and your clothes. and ensure that you have a wardrobe of fragrances to choose from.
Remember that fragrances also carry strong temporal and seasonal associations. A fresh citrus scent, such as Truefitt & Hill’s West Indian Limes cologne or Freshman cologne, or the zesty oceanic fragrance of ‘1805’, originally created for Lord Palmerston, will convey business-like enthusiasm and vitality, whereas a heavier, woody, more oriental fragrance may well have more nocturnal connotations. The complex blend of woody undertones with spicy oriental notes in Truefitt & Hill’s Grafton cologne diffuses a sense of cultured sophistication, while the spicy heart of Trafalgar cologne, with its nutmeg, clove and lavender fragrances, is urbane and cosmopolitan.
Don’t apply overpowering amounts of fragrance; your aim is to titillate and tantalise, not to smother and overwhelm. Apply two or three squirts to the chest and neck and if you can still smell the fragrance five or ten minutes after applying, you’ve got it about right.
Above all, wearing a good, well-chosen fragrance shows that you care. The fact that you have taken trouble, as a perfect gentleman, to attend to your physical presence in the world shows that you respect the people with whom you are interacting; the hallmark of good manners.