Day: November 23, 2014

Alphabet of thanks, “V”

It’s the Holiday season and I am very thankful for vanilla. I love the smell of vanilla, don’t you?  Did you know that women In Victorian times used vanilla as perfume?  (And Bath and Body Works thought they were original? )

I like vanilla in warm milk. I like vanilla ice cream.  I like vanilla pudding. While I like chocolate, vanilla is my favorite. A touch of vanilla in almost any cake, cookie or dessert recipe adds to the taste. It’s also great in tart recipes as it “softens” the tartness. I love the scent of it so much that anytime I’m in Bath and Body Works, I buy “Warm Vanilla Sugar”  in every product they carry. Every woman I know loves it.

warm vanilla sugar

warm vanilla sugar

Maybe it reminds us of when we were little girls and we smelled cookies baking in the oven and we feel “mothered”.

fresh baked cookies

fresh baked cookies

Did you know that smells can actually soothe us, energize us, makes us more mentally acute? What do you think is behind the success of the aforementioned Bath and Body Works? They have tapped into the psychology of smell and we’ve bought it hook, line and sinker.That’s not meant as an insult. Quite the contrary. I think it’s great. I love going in and smelling all the new “flavors”.

I’m copying this article directly from the Internet. It’s a really good explanation of what I’ve been saying and might even explain the “mothering” theory. What do you think?

The psychology of design: How to create an environment in which you will thrive

by Sally Augustin, Ph.D.

Scents influence us in predictable ways.

Published on January 13, 2010 by Sally Augustin, Ph.D. in People, Places, and Things.

The scents that surround us have a significant influence on how we live our lives. Specific smells have predictable psychological effects, as discussed in part 1 of this article – lemon improves our performance on cognitive tasks while peppermint has the same result when we are doing physical work, for example.



Researchers have also found that scents each of us individually classify as pleasant influence us in foreseeable ways:

  • When we smell a scent that we think is pleasant while we’re waiting somewhere, it seems to us that we’ve been waiting for a shorter time than if a pleasant smell is absent. If you know that you, or others, will be spending a lot of time on hold or in a linge, add a pleasant smell to your environment.
beautiful smells

beautiful smells

  • We’re apt to linger in spaces that smell good – so scent is a way that you can encourage people to gather in particular sections of your home during a party.
  • Smelling pleasant scents also puts us into a generally good mood, which means we’re apt to be more creative and more interested in resolving disagreements genially as opposed to confrontationally.
wonderful smells

wonderful smells

  • Gamblers bet more money when they’re in a good smelling place, so, if you often lose at cards, don’t add potpourri to the den when the poker game’s at your house.
  • When we smell pleasant scents, we’re more apt to recall pleasant memories, which is good if you’re not feeling well or under stress – and you’ll generally report that you feel less pain when you smell a pleasant smell than you will when you’re not doing so.
nice smells

nice smells

  • We’re more confident when we are smelling a pleasant scent – so wearing that perfume or cologne you like is a good idea when you’re taking the law boards or defending your dissertation.
  • Scented spaces seem larger than unscented ones, and, as a bonus, those larger seeming scented spaces also seem cleaner and brighter than unscented ones – even if we don’t consciously register that scent – conscious registration is not necessary for the repercussions of pleasant smells noted above, either.

Smelling the same smell in two different places where you’ll be working on a project puts you in the same mood as in both spaces and calls the same memories to mind. If your home office and a workplace share an odor, it will help you work more effectively in both places.

What about unpleasant smells?

bad smells

bad smells


They mobilize us to action – particularly to leave spaces. So, if your guests just don’t get the hint, you know what to do. . . .

What about you? Have you ever really thought about what scents you prefer? I love Rosemary scented shampoo. I love any citrus smell. I like lavender and lemon scents. I love Eucalyptus and ginger. I’m gaga over basil.

I think we underestimate the power of smells and how they can affect us. Especially for the better.

God bless and I hope you smell something really wonderful today.


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