Feel like you need to relax and chill a little? Then get out and mow the lawn.
You know … that wonderful fresh grass-just-cut green smell which we associate with Spring and Summer.
According to Dr Judith Reinhard of the Queensland Brain Institute, there’s a reason we get comfort from it – and it’s because it calms us.
“The sense of smell is the most evolved with odours affecting what we pay attention to, and even who or what we find attractive,” she says.
It is one of the reasons why aromatherapy has long been used to evoke different states of mind.
Dr Reinhard and her colleagues are uncovering the molecular mechanisms behind this phenomenon and she says that one way to calm down is to mow grass.
“Honeybees are excellent models because just like us, they are very social but also prone to stress,” she says. “That means they can get aggressive.
“But one way of reducing their aggression is to expose them to pleasant odours such as freshly cut grass.”
Dr Reinhard says that bees exposed to the odour of cut grass have altered gene expression levels in their brains, providing new clues as to the neural basis for aggression.
While it’s too early to speculate on the potential applications for odours in treating mental illness, Dr Reinhard said that men report feeling calmer and more relaxed after mowing the lawn.
“We know that’s not just because they’re pleased about getting a job done,” she says.
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Summer Aromatherapy Blend
And while it’s still summer, try this refreshing room spray for summer:
- 50 drops of orange
- 20 drops of clove
- 15 drops of cinnamon
- 10 drops of jasmine
- 1 teaspoon emulsifier
- 120gms rose hydrosol
Blend all the oils in a bottle, add the emulsifier and blend some more.
Then add the rose hydrosol. Shake until well blended. Spray in any room – just one or two sprays is enough.