Smells experienced in nature can make us feel relaxed, joyful, and healthy, according to new research led by the University of Kent’s Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE).
Smells were found to play an important role in delivering well-being benefits from interacting with nature, often with a strong link to people’s personal memories, and specific ecological characteristics and processes (e.g. fallen leaves rotting in the winter).
Researchers found that smells affected multiple types of human well-being, with physical well-being noted most frequently, particularly in relation to relaxation, comfort and rejuvenation.
Absence of smell was also perceived to improve physical well-being, providing a cleansing environment due to the removal of pollution and unwanted smells associated with urban areas, and therefore enabling relaxation.
Relaxation reduces stress and lowers cortisol levels, which is often linked to a multitude of diseases, and so these findings could be particularly significant to public health professionals.
Source: Neuroscience News