The other day, I was on a first date with a guy when he asked me which emotion I felt the majority of the time ( …great first date question, right?!). “Excitement!” I told him while quite literally batting my eyelashes and being generally adorable. But… I was lying.
Having dealt with pretty intense anxiety since I was a teenager, coupled with the fact that my job is, by nature, deadline after deadline after deadline, my actual baseline emotion on any given day is “stressed out.” My stress levels get in the way of my sleep, my focus, my social life—basically, everything. And so, I’m constantly looking for things that will help to calm me down. I’ve tried CBD in my coffee, midday meditation, and sipping on herbal tea, all with mixed results. But right now, there is a surprising thing that has truly been working for me: A bottle of perfume.
The Nue Co’s Functional Fragrance ($150) was designed to “to help you reset at times of high stress,” and that’s exactly what it’s become to me. It combines scents like green cardamom, iris, Palo santo, and cilantro, a mix that can help alter your mental and emotional state by lowering your cortisol levels—aka, it can calm you right down. Based on the Nue Co’s own research, 96 percent of people found themselves feeling calmer after sniffing the scent, and 93 percent would recommend it as a stress aid. Having tested it out for myself over the last few months, all I have to say is, #same.
When the product first came across my desk, I have to admit that I really only started using it because I thought it smelled good (and, okay, I’m not the best at showering between workout classes and work—sue me.). But now, it’s became a sort of focus-related crutch for me. The scent isn’t floral or fruity, but rather woody and spicy—and something about wearing it makes me feel like I’m being wrapped in a warm hug, or curled up on the couch in a cashmere blanket. Hence, probably, why it helps me calm the F down when I start to spiral. I spritz my wrists first thing in the morning and inhale deeply, and the scent and deep breath both allow me to use that moment to center. Throughout the day, I take little sniffs of my wrist when my inbox feels like the Hydra that Hercules had to defeat, or when I can’t think of a word while I’m writing (…FWIW, it took me three sniffs to remember the word “Hydra,” but I digress).
As someone who is used to stress taking over every aspect of my life, I’ve gotta admit that the idea that I could just… sniff it away at first felt ridiculous. But considering how calm I am within 30 seconds after I inhale, I’m officially a (very, very zen) believer.
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