Aromatherapy For Work: Boost Productivity & Concentration With These 10 Scents

Need to train your mind into better concentration and productivity? Try sniffing these scents for some awesome olfactory power that hones your brain…

The mind tends to wander into worlds you don’t want it to go to, right? Especially when you have a ton of work, it is then that your concentration tanks. And it has got nothing to do with liking or even loving your job—sometimes the brain misbehaves. So how do you bring your attention back to the tasks at hand? From constantly sipping cold water, to hot water, to munching on apples, and snacking on sunflower seeds…I tried quite a bit in a bid to increase productivity. It worked, but snacking made me put on kilos as well…So I stuck to water, till I bought organic rose water in a spray bottle—a facial freshener and cleanser. I discovered that the day I sprayed it on my face after a bath, my work happened faster—and better too. So I got into scents, and these are the ten scents that I personally use to improve concentration and brain power, as well as relieve mental fatigue. They are also backed by research and science!

How Does Aromatherapy Affect Concentration & Productivity?

Aromatherapy is not a new thing or fad. In fact, it has been in play for centuries, ever since humans discovered how certain smells can affect human emotions. When you inhale the smell, usually in an essential oil form, it stimulates the olfactory system. When you sniff or breathe in the aromatic molecules, they spread through your body, finally reaching the brain. There, they affect the limbic system in a good way, by holistically stimulating emotions, the heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress, and hormones. The effect is not instantaneous or magical; one sniff will not make you Einstein—but it will boost your blocked brain and help you focus on the task of the hour with better concentration.

10 Scents That Improve Concentration & Boost Productivity

  • Stop & Smell The Roses: Traditionally speaking, roses do not directly make you concentrate better. But if you are prone to wringing your hands over undone work like me, sniffing the aroma of roses will ease some of that stress. You could head to your garden and sniff the blooms there and take a little walking break from your desk. Or spray some organic rose water on your face, letting the aroma linger there for a while. You could also mix pure rose essential oil with carrier oils like coconut or jojoba and massage a little on your face, hands, and pulse points to let the scent linger—roses carry skin benefits, too!
  • Be Wise With Frankincense: As the name suggests, you can actually light a few frankincense incense sticks at your desk about 30 minutes before you get down to work to create a calm and relaxing work environment for yourself. Much like the rose, frankincense calms any anxiety and helps uplift the gloom and lighten the heart a bit—perfect to face a manic Monday morning. You can add a few drops of frankincense essential oil to a cotton ball, and keep it in an airtight jar for you to sniff at will.
  • Be A Team Player With Ylang-Ylang: Sometimes we are stuck with people we do not want to work with. If you need to calm your nerves and be at harmony at work, try a big sniff of ylang-ylang. It doesn’t improve your concentration but it does help you to get along, so the task at hand will still be done! Works for job interviews too…
  • When Life Gives You Lemons, Sniff ThemResearch at the Ohio State University has indicated that the smell of lemons can put you in a better mood. And being happy is one way to complete good work in no time—if you enjoy what you are doing, your concentration goes way up. You can add a few drops of lemon essential oil to your handkerchief if you carry one—or keep a reed diffuser on your table.
  • A Little Bit Of Jasmine On My Side: Research on the feel-good aroma of jasmine shows that sniffing this heady scent floods the brain with beta-waves and makes you feel happy, energetic, and even serene.  This, in turn, soothes any anxiety and increases confidence as well as reaction time. A jasmine flower wristband works well, as does a reed diffuser.
  • Cinnamon For A Sharper Brain: A small study done at the Wheeling Jesuit University seems to indicate that the scent of cinnamon makes your memory as sharp as a knife. It also improves cognizance and research is on to see its effects on those suffering from degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s. It tastes and smells nice which is why my cup of Joe is dosed with one beautifully curled aromatic cinnamon stick. Which brings me to my next scent…
  • Coffee Is One Effective Wake-Up Call: Notice how we coffee lovers always inhale a good cuppa before we actually drink it? Well, along with our body, we are using the rich scent of coffee to jolt our brains into waking up as well as they can. And you don’t need to drink coffee to get the sleep and stress-busting effects—just keep a jar of coffee beans on your desk and sniff away the slump!
  • Not A Rose Fan? Try Rosemary: This herb that goes so well with roast potatoes or chicken can improve concentration while toning down your hyper-thoughts as well. It is also known to increase speed as well as accuracy, and experts recommend that students preparing for an examination should be sniffing rosemary for a powerful productivity boost. If you have a plant at home, pluck a leaf and rub it in your hands; the scent will linger for a while.
  • Pepper Up With Peppermint: Other than being known as a scent that calm down a migraine tempest, peppermint freshens the brain as it freshens the tongue thus reducing mental fatigue to a good level. Enough to help you calm the rage down, and get cracking on work instead. Sniff peppermint leaves if you have them, or add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to a cotton ball. Place the cotton ball in a jar and keep sniffing it as you like.
  • Bet On Basil For The Brain: Finally we come to the wonder herb, basil. The scent of holy basil or tulsi is both sweet and bitter at the same time and works so well because it is an adaptogen—it adapts to the amount of mental, physical, and physiological stress and fugue in you and goes about alleviating it. It increases concentration and productivity and makes for a sharper, more responsive brain as well. You can reap the benefits of this herb by using a reed diffuser on your desk.


Try these aromas and scents and see if they can aid you in better concentration and productivity. Do send us your thoughts in the comments section below!