We’ve examined internal and external factors affecting our cognition, and what small changes we can make to improve it. Last time, we came to the conclusion that if you’re not challenging yourself mentally, you will lose part of your cognition like problem solving. You may become a slower thinker as you stop challenging yourself. The outcome being to challenge your brain and cognition or you will lose it.

Now it’s time to consider the effect smell has on your cognition and memory. Certain scents can affect our physical, emotional and mental health. Our smell receptor enables what we smell to travel to the brain regions including limbic, and medical temporal lobe structures where emotions and memories are stored.

When studying the effect of essential oils, some researchers believe that they stimulate chemical reactions within the body and the brain. Some aromas can relax and even sedate us (lavender and chamomile create sleepy and relaxing aromas), while others can stimulate or excite (rosemary and peppermint) – through these chemical processes.

Research has shown that peppermint leads to greater alertness, decreased frustration and reduced anxiety and fatigue under controlled conditions.

Some aromas can relax and even sedate us (lavender and chamomile create sleepy and relaxing aromas), while others can stimulate or excite (rosemary and peppermint) – through these chemical processes.

Research has shown that peppermint leads to greater alertness, decreased frustration and reduced anxiety and fatigue under controlled conditions. Lavender by contrast produced a significant reduction in working memory and reduced reaction times in tasks requiring memory and attention as you might expect with a fragrance that is relaxing.

If you smell a particular fragrance or aroma, you will probably be reminded of a particular situation/place or person linked to the smell – aiding our recall of specific times and event’s; some good memories, others not so pleasant…

Different aromas can cause different feelings; for example, jasmine, camomile and lavender promote stress relief, where rosemary, peppermint, lemon or orange promote mental clarity and stimulation.

Aromas can evoke positive and negative memories. Smell/aromas in the workplace can be a touchy subject. Someone eating smelly food at their desk can be a major distraction and cause a lot of tension in the workplace.

However, with care and consideration, there are ways to minimise this type of distraction…
You could use a scented roll on, directly applied to your pulse points (temples and wrists) to give you energy and invigorate you. To avoid using it on your skin, you could apply scented oil to a tissue and keep it in your pocket.

The other option is to eat an orange and leave the peel on your desk for a short while. There are many ways to create your own ambiance to enforce the mood you need to work. You may even want to prompt your company to store fragrance oils around the office. This will invigorate people and help improve focus.

Incense Stick: Get Images