A hand holding a candle

What Does Happiness Smell Like?

Everyone might have a different opinion on what happiness smells like, but we’ve all walked into a room with a scent that catches your attention right away. Scents have the ability to trigger an emotional response, which is why certain smells can provoke happiness and other emotions. As colder and darker fall and winter months approach, knowing what smells can elicit happiness and mood boosting responses can help fight any Sunday scaries or seasonal depression. Let’s dive into finding out how a particular scent has the ability to affect our mood and what scents to keep around the house to boost happiness.

How Can Scents Affect Your Mood?

Different scents can affect a person’s mood in various ways. Typically, a person can associate scents and smells with a past event or situation when an emotional response was triggered. When we breathe in a certain odor, this process triggers the hippocampus, which is where memories are stored in your brain. Whether the smell is good or bad and whether a person is in a good or bad situation, your hippocampus works to form an association. This process is commonly referred to as associative learning, which is the process by which a person associates an event or a thing with one another to make a connection.
For example, if you attend your best friend’s wedding and there is a strong scent of peonies from the bride’s bouquet and the reception table flowers, your mind can associate the exciting, happy day with the scent of peonies. The flower’s scent played into the story of your best friend’s wedding and now when this smell reaches you no matter where you are, emotions of happiness can be elicited in response to this.

Scents That Can Boost Your Happiness

There have been many studies conducted to figure out which scents in particular can boost a person’s happiness. By incorporating these scents in your home or daily routine, you can experience the effects of boosting your feelings of well being. These studies have shown that these scents are the most common for boosting a person’s mood:
  • Vanilla
  • Lemon
  • Bergamot
  • Orange
  • Jasmine
  • White Musk
  • Rosemary
  • Almond
While this isn’t an exhaustive list, the above group are some of the most common scents that have the ability to boost your mood. While science shows that we assign personal memories to scents, some aromas have universal appeal and can create positive responses for many of us. “Many people share similar scent memories that could be linked to happiness. There are many common ingredients that can enhance mood and feelings of happiness or relaxation,” notes Linda G. Levy, president of The Fragrance Foundation. For example, Levy says, citrus scents can make us feel energized and refreshed, while woodsy notes can create a sense of balance and groundedness.
These aromatic ingredients are also important for their beneficial interactions with our bodies. Beyond just the power of almond’s scent, almond oil is used in many skincare products because it contains properties that help promote collagen production along with potentially reducing a person’s stress levels. Rosemary — as you might know from its use in cooking — has a strong woody scent, and rosemary leaf extract is an antioxidant that can help protect the skin against free radicals and lower inflammation in the hippocampus.
You can reap the benefits by diffusing these oils into the air at home or by incorporating them into your morning skincare routine.
Founder of MUTHA™, Hope Smith, created her skincare line with these mood-boosting scents in mind. Start your day with the MUTHA™ Body Oil and MUTHA™ Face Oil that contain mood-enhancing ingredients such as almond oil and orange peel oil. Hope carefully selects each ingredient that goes into her skincare line to ensure the best results for both your mood and skin.