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Life can get tough, and many of us experience negative emotional states such as stress, anxiety, and depression that can hang around for longer than we’d like. Fortunately, there are plenty of things we can do to care for ourselves when in such states including using the healing power of scent. Keep reading to find out more about how scented candles can improve your mood, as well as which candle scents are ideal for dealing with each emotional state.
Aromatherapy is a holistic healing treatment that makes use of aromas such as those used in scented candles to improve physical and psychological well-being. Several scientific studies support the efficacy of aromatherapy including this study which showed the inhalation of citrus oil helps reduce cortisol levels, and pulse rate during a dental procedure.
Studies such as this metastudy have also shown that aromatherapy can be used to better cope with physical pain. The evidence shows its particularly effective in soothing post-operative, gynaecological and obstetrical pain.
A 2014 study also showed that aromatherapy had a positive impact on older adults for issues such as pain, depression, anxiety and stress. This 2015 study conducted on patients in the ICU showed that aromatherapy can successfully be used to promote sleep and reduce anxiety.
The method by which aromatherapy works to combat negative emotional states is not yet wholly understood. Although Jafarzadeh, (2013) proposes that it has to do with the limbic system. The limbic system is an area of the human brain that is associated with memory, emotion, and instinct.
Jafarzadeh, (2013) suggests that as we breathe in scent particles released by the warming of oils either on the skin or via the wax carrier of a candle they quickly enter the bloodstream there is a positive reaction in the brain and body, triggering better regulation of emotions.
It is important to note that while the evidence that aromatherapy products like scented candles can help alleviate some of the immediate symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression, there is no evidence to suggest that they are a cure for these conditions. Indeed, such conditions can be difficult to cure fully, even when the latest pharmaceutical and psychological treatments are used.
Many scents can be used specifically to help relieve stress. Lavender candles in particular are a very popular option. The lavender scent comes from the lavender flower, and it has a sedative quality which can make it particularly relaxing for those suffering from stress.
Lemon and citrus scents are other fragrances known to help combat stress, as they can provide a real ‘pick-me-up” if you are feeling ground down by life. You can even get candles that combine the relaxing power of lavender and the energising power of lemon to help you fight stress in a calm but alert manner.
If you are looking for a candle scent that can help you when you are feeling anxious then you need to try Jasmin. Similar to Lavender Jasmin's scent comes from the flower of the same name and also has a sedative, calming quality.
The deep, comforting aroma of Sandalwood (See website for Sandalwood & Cedar jars or Vanilla Sandalwood jars) is also a scent that is well-known to soothe an anxious mood. Not only does it help promote better sleep, but also helps reduce blood pressure.
In addition to the specific scents described above, a fragrance that reminds you of a positive time in your life or a particularly safe place can help soothe anxiety. For instance, if you love nothing more than walking along the beach with the sand between your toes, choosing a candle such as Dockside or bonfire beach can help instantly transport you to a place where you feel more relaxed.
Similarly, if the place you go to when things all get a bit too much is the forest, you can summon the feeling of the pine needle-covered paths you walk with a candle like Evergreen.
Again citrus smells are a great choice here as their sharp uplifting scents can lift a low mood as does lavender. Both of which are known to boost serotonin in humans. Candles with mint and other invigorating fragrances like this one can also offer the stimulation needed to fight low mood and help get you back to feeling yourself in no time.
Last, of all, candles with scents such as Basil can work wonders. Indeed, it is known to help boost focus and clarity, and while it may make you crave Italian food at first, it can be a wonderful natural way to lift a low mood.
There are many different ways you can use candles to soothe your stress, anxiety and depression. One of the most pleasing options is to set aside some time in a room with low light and practice a gentle mindfulness or metta meditation while your favourite scented candle gently burns away filling the air with delicate fragrance. Just be sure to always place your candle on a heat proof surface and position it away from any fire hazards.
Alternatively, you could light your favourite scented candle, and run yourself a long, hot luxurious bubble bath. Then you can combine the soothing scents of the candle with the great work the hot water will do to relax and soothe your muscles.
Another wonderful way to use a scented candle to improve your mood is to create a water feature with floating candles. You can do this inside by using a large glass bowl and adding glass pebbles, or beads to the bottom. Alternatively, you could even take your scents outside and use your candles in a garden water feature.
While we are on the topic of spending some relaxing time outside, don’t forget that a citronella-scented candle can not only produce a calming citrus scent but help keep bugs away so you can enjoy your time in the garden, stress-free.