Can Aromatherapy Deflate Your Road Rage?
While driving, your senses are on high alert (except taste, because eating and driving is a dangerous and distracted driving combo). Your eyes absorb the landscape of traffic in front of you, your ears process the sounds around you, and your sense of touch grips the wheel as you navigate through gridlock. Not to mention, your sense of smell is engaged (for better or worse). But have you ever thought that your nose could be the key to a more peaceful and attentive driving experience?
“Your nose’s olfactory bulb—the nerves that receive smell signals—is located right next to the part of the brain that controls memories, emotions, and basic tasks, which means certain smells can improve your mental performance, lower your stress levels, and influence your moods and emotions,” reports Aline Peres Martins, Prevention.com writer.
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Beneficial driving assistance via aromatherapy is not about picking just any scent.
“You may want to use your favorite fragrances, but not all essential oils are suitable for use in your car. You should avoid smells that make you overly relaxed or sleepy. For example, the essential oil of lavender is extremely calming and relieves anxiety, but it can make you over-relaxed at the wheel, or even drowsy. Chamomile is another soothing essential oil that can make you sleepy, and should be avoided in the car,” reports Sierra Bright, NaturalLivingIdeas.com writer.
Bright also discourages the use of eucalyptus, floral fragrances, vetiver, sweet marjoram, geranium, cedarwood, bergamot, or any fragrance that makes you feel careless.
“Make sure you check out the effect of essential oils on you before using them while driving,” reports Bright.
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Here are some car-approved essential oils, according to Bright: lemon, sweet/wild orange, grapefruit, mandarin, lemongrass, basil, cinnamon, and coffee. Oils such as peppermint, rosemary, and ginger should be used sparingly, since they can be too strong for children or produce an overwhelming scent.
To unleash the power of essential oils in your car, according to Tierney Brannigan, DMV.org writer, “you can opt to buy an oil diffuser specifically made for use in the car, which is powered by plugging it into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter. You can find a large selection of car diffusers online and possibly at your local spiritual shop.”
You can also go the DIY route with Bright’s suggestion of releasing one or two drops of essential oil onto a tissue that rests on your dashboard to allow your car engine’s heat to scent the air.