Doin’ It Well: Scented Candles to Boost Your Mood and Productivity

There’s more to fragrance than scent: It’s a gateway to memories, experiences, and emotions. A walk past a florist can evoke a fleeting memory, while a whiff of coffee can cue your mind to focus at the start of the day. This link between your mind and sense of smell means that candles are so much more than a beautiful decoration addition to your desk or home.

Soothe nerves

Stressed out or feeling anxious about a deadline? Floral scents such as jasmine have been used in traditional aromatherapy rituals for centuries, and there’s a good reason why. A group of German researchers have found that the smell of jasmine could be as calming as valium. The surprising study showed the floral scent helps calm your nerves, making it an ideal desktop candle fragrance for high-stress days. Try this NARS Oran candle with a blend of white gardenia blossoms and floral touches of violette, jasmine and heliotrope.

Stay alert

Ever wondered why some smells are linked to memories? Our sensory system is connected to the emotional center of the brain, meaning if you wore your favorite perfume on a first date, a spritz might conjure up romantic feelings even after the event has passed. This scent-memory link can also be used to boost your alertness. If you associate your morning cup of tea with reading the news or the smell of coffee with working hard on deadline, chances are a scented candle could trigger those memories and have a similar effect. Try this Commes des Garçons Kyoto candle infused with cypress oil, coffee, teakwood, vetiver, patchouli, amber, and Virginian cedar.



If you’ve noticed the smooth scent of vanilla makes you feel uplifted, relaxed, or even sensuous, you’re not alone. It turns out the sweet scent has been shown to have a strong effect on mood. Another hidden benefit of sweet-scented candles: They curb cravings. Light a coconut or vanilla candle like this Boy Smells Prunus Candle after dinner to stop your sweet tooth.

Boost focus

A surprising Japanese study has found a strong link between the scent of citrus fruit and work efficiency. Some businesses citrus and eucalyptus to keep employees alert, showing a zesty scent could be the key to productivity. Try this Cire Trudon Cyrnos classic candle with traces of lemon, myrtle, and thyme.



Imagine strolling through a pine forest, with shafts of light twinkling through the canopy and the woody scent filling your senses. It’s no surprise nature is a great relaxant, but science suggests you don’t have to take a vacation to reap the benefits. Forest scents like pine and cedar can reduce stress and promote feelings of greater well-being. Cop this diptyque Sapin candle reminiscent of the base of a pine tree, which draws you back to the beauty of winter. Perfect for a lounge room, close your eyes, inhale the burning candle, and be transported to a calm mental space.

Improve attention

Need to refocus for an afternoon meeting after your Friday lunch? Keep a cinnamon candle like this Voluspa Mandarino Cannela on your desk and inhale the spicy aroma to sharpen your mind when that 3 p.m. haze sets in.

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