Did someone reheat Indian food in the office microwave…two floors down? Your amped-up smelling ability doesn’t mean you’re turning into a superhero—it could be stress. According to a recent study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, people with anxiety can experience a heightened sense of smell, able to sniff out things that calmer folks might miss.
It turns out that when we feel anxious, our body naturally goes into survival mode, heightening our ability to identify threats, and the nose often takes the lead. As anxiety levels rise, so does our ability to correctly sniff out a strong or unusual stench. In other words, if you think you smell smoke coming from the kitchen or are convinced your poodle Patches had an accident somewhere in the house, it could be a sign you're more stressed than usual. The upside? You can use this anxiety-heightened sniffing ability to tackle the annoying side effects of stress, such as indigestion and insomnia with aromatherapy, the practice of using essential oils—concentrated from flowers, leaves, fruit, bark, and roots—to ease stress.
Here are five simple ways to sniff your way out of stressful situations with essential oils, from Hope Gillerman, aromatic healer and creator of H. Gillerman Organics.
This article was originally published by our partners at Prevention.