There’s no denying that lighting a candle makes you feel a certain way – relaxed, happy, at peace. But can it also affect your mood and wellbeing?
It is true that candles switch on two of your five senses – smell and sight – and in that way alone can help transform your mood. But some experts believe the effects of lighting a candle can go a lot further with claims they can help you de-stress, relax, sleep better and even focus on a task.
A smell can evoke a memory by sending a message to your limbic system, which is the part of the brain that deals with memories, emotion and arousal. This is why you can sometimes catch the smell of a tree or plant and you get a nostalgic feeling for your childhood.
A 2011 study led by Masahiro Matsunaga of the Aichi Medical University in Japan found odors can evoke a positive memory and reduce negative moods. Researchers presented a group with a fragrance that represented an ‘autobiographical memory’, or a familiar scent, and then presented them with a pleasant, yet unfamiliar, control fragrance. They found the familiar scent produced a more positive emotion and “increased feelings of comfort and happiness” and even showed signs of reduced anxiety in participants when compared with the unfamiliar scent.
So, with this science in mind, it’s possible to see how scents can directly affect your mood. There are several essential oils often blended into aromatherapy candles believed to have a positive effect on the way you feel. This list could help you choose the right candle for you.
- Can help lower anxiety
- Choose it at the end of a hectic day when you need to de-stress
- Can reduce stress and uplift your mood
- Choose it when you need a bit of calm
- Can help support memory and brain health
- Choose it when you need to focus on a task
- Can help promote alertness
- Choose it while you’re working
- Cedar leaf
- Can help to reduce anxiety and help with insomnia
- Choose it before bed for a good night sleep
- Can lower levels of frustration and fatigue
- Choose it if you need to clear your head and relax
The Perfect Environment
The gentle flickering flame of a candle and the soft light that illuminates a room on its own can help to set an atmosphere of calm, rest and relaxation. There are so many different ways you can use your candle for the best effect.
- Set your candle in a central space in your lounge room and take a moment to relax on your lounge without distractions like the television or radio on around you. (Choose MAE as it contains mint).
- Find a comfy spot in your home and settle in with a good book or your favourite magazine with a candle burning nearby. (Choose AGI, YEN or TAL as they all contain citrus).
- Fill a bath, turn down the lights and set a few candles in safe spots throughout the bathroom, sink down into the warm water and close your eyes. (Choose MAE as it contains lavender).
- Light a candle in your bedroom at night as you prepare for bed. Don’t forget to turn it off before you go to sleep! (Choose YEN, SUR or FIR as they contain cedarwood and cedar leaf).
- Set a candle burning on your desk as you settle in to do some work, pay bills or answer emails. (Choose TAL as it contains sage).
Tell us what your favourite candle scent is and why?