Next time you’re feeling down in the dumps, or just a bit overwhelmed by whatever life is throwing at you, your best bet may be to take a load off—and sniff some citrus.
While you might’ve expected some fragrance containing lavender or chamomile to be the most soothing scent on the shelves of Bed Bath & Beyond—there is scientific reason to go for a citrus-flavored scent for stress relief.
As Katie Drummond points out for Prevention, the Mayo Clinic—which actively uses aromatherapy with its patients—has found a connection between citrus aromas and lessened anxiety in patients. According to Barbara Thomley, lead coordinator of the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program at the Mayo Clinic, “If you like the smell, and it has positive connotations for you, you’ll experience the most benefit.”
In one study focused on the Japanese fruit yuzu (which is similar to the lemon), test subjects experienced significantly fewer mood disturbance after just 10 minutes of wafting the fruit. So, if you’re looking for a chill pill in a pinch, your best bet might be sniffing a couple of lemons.
As far as the other citrus fruits are concerned, they have their own unique benefits. According to Drummond, grapefruits are good for curbing appetites, as their fragrance has been proven to boost metabolism. And if you’ve got a sour stomach, it’s also been proven that smelling some oranges might be able to cut down on nausea and encourage better digestion.