One whiff can influence your mood, habits, and brainpower!
To Stop Smoking
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Try: Black pepper. In a small study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, nicotine users who inhaled one drop of black pepper essential oil on a tissue for two minutes during a cig craving reduced their desire to smoke. The pungent scent of pepper is a stimulant, which may explain why it helps fight withdrawal symptoms.
To Beat PMS
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Try: Lavender. You know to spray this scent on your pillow to help you sleep at night, but 10 minutes inhaling the floral can relieve emotional symptoms of PMS, like depression and confusion, according to one 2013 study from Japanese researchers. When compared to a control condition with water, lavender helped improve parasympathetic nervous system activity, which taps into your body’s relaxation response.
RELATED: Eat to Beat PMS
To Be Sharp
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Try: Sage. The herbal scent boosts cognitive performance on memory tests compared to a control (no aroma) condition, according to a Human Psychopharmacology report. Sage may help boost alertness, helping you hone in and focus on what needs to be done—so you can get to happy hour.
To Feel Fuller
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Try: Olive oil. According to a preliminary study from German researchers, the peppery aroma compounds of olive oil may boost satiety. People who ate a yogurt laced with rapeseed oil (a less fragrant oil) ate 176 calories more than those who ate the yogurt with olive oil, they revealed. [Tweet this!]
To Feel Generous
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Try: Fresh laundry. People who were in a room that was sprayed with a clean scent reported they were more interested in volunteering, donating money, and were more trusting of others than those in an unscented room, revealed research in Psychological Science in 2010. Clean scents tap into your unconscious mind to tell you to act virtuous.
To Bust Stress
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Try: Coffee. When researchers exposed animals to the roasted bean scent, it altered their brain, finds a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Certain genes that help guard against the damaging effects of stress showed greater activity, the researchers explain.
To Kick Butt at the Gym
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Try: Peppermint. Mixing a drop of peppermint essential oil into a half liter of water (yep, you have to drink this one) improved exercise performance in a small study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. Peppermint helps relax airway muscles, decrease blood lactate levels, and boost oxygen levels in the brain to reduce fatigue during exercise. Yep, you will totally beat that girl on the ‘mill next to you. [Tweet this!]