According to a 2021 study from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, 42.2% of adults in the state of Iowa experienced anxiety or depression. 25.4% of these adults end up not getting treatment or the therapy they need. While these common household items could help beat or alleviate depression symptoms, they do not and should not replace speaking to a therapist.

With that said...who would've thought that helping relieve depression symptoms was right under your nose?

Smells Can Help Cure Depression?

A recent study from the University of Pittsburgh discovered certain smells are more effective than words in evoking happy memories. These happy memories can help those who are suffering from depression stop negative thought patterns.

Unsplash - Clay Banks
Unsplash - Clay Banks

According to the NY Post, "researchers exposed 32 people between the ages of 18 and 55 who suffer from major depressive disorder to 12 scents in jars." Some of these scents were Vicks VapoRub, ground coffee, cumin powder, red wine, vanilla extract, clove bulbs, shoe polish, essential oils, ketchup, and coconut oil. After the participants smelled each jar, they were asked to recall a specific memory, whether it was good or bad.

Unsplash - Lina Verovaya
Unsplash - Lina Verovaya

Why Can Smelling These Items Help?

Kymberly Young was the lead author of this study and she told the NY Post that "depressed people who smelled a familiar scent were more likely to recall a specific memory or event, like being at a coffee shop a week ago, as opposed to a more general memory of them going to get coffee sometime in their life."

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These certain scents helped these 32 people bring back memories that felt real and vivid. The amygdala part of your brain is what controls your fight or flight response and also helps with memory recall.

Individuals dealing with a bout of depression symptoms can often struggle recalling memories. Smelling certain scents that bring someone positive memories can help those struggling with depression heal faster.

According to the NY Post Kymberly Young said

If we improve memory, we can improve problem-solving, emotion regulation and other functional problems that depressed individuals often experience.

If you or someone you know is suffering from mental health such as depression or anxiety, visit HHS Iowa for resources and help.

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