"I never get stressed," said no one ever. We’ve all dealt with those I-just-can’t-catch-a-break days. Whether you're stressed about a looming deadline or a bad breakup, we found the fragrances that can help reroute your feelings. “Scent is the quickest way to change your mood state," says Alan Hirsch, scent expert and neurological director of the Smell and Taste Treatment & Research Foundation in Chicago. "Emotions are derived from the limbic system, which is also where the brain localizes smell. That’s why scent and emotion are so intertwined.” Create a mood swing (in the best possible way) with a whiff of these notes:
If you need a little comfort, reach for a gourmand scent instead of that cookie. “People are typically nostalgic for their childhood and associate the smell of baked goods, like vanilla or cocoa, with positive moods," says Hirsch. Try lighting this yummy (yet not cloying) vanilla scented candle from Diptyque ($60; diptyque.com) and let those fuzzy feelings wash over you.
Are you hitting that sleepy 3:00 p.m. slump but have a project to turn in before EOD? Turn that stress into energy with this mist (Lotus Wei Radiant Energy Mist, $40; rodales.com) which is laced with energizing grapefruit extract to help perk you up. "Intense citrus odors stimulate your nerves to be more alert," says Hirsch.
If your mind is racing before bed and counting sheep isn't helping, try calming down pre-snooze with this lavender and chamomile spiked formula (Body Shop Deep Sleep Dreamy Body Mist, $16; thebodyshop.com) so you can drift off quickly. “Lavender increases alpha waves in the brain, which is associated with thinking in a relaxed state,” says Hirsch.