"I am a big proponent of visualisation and action boards to make your dreams come true," shares Dr Tara Swart, a neuroscientist and resident doctor at private members club, Annabel's. "An action board differs from a traditional vision board as it involves doing something each day to ensure you are progressing towards your goals." This motivational interview isn't taking place after a mindfulness workshop (which the subject would elude to) but in the foyer of The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge.

While it may be farfetched for a neuroscientist to be an advocate of spa treatments (Dr Swart is a new spokeswoman for Aromatherapy Associates), she explains to us the scientific reasoning behind it. "I have always liked and used aromatherapy since being a medical student, either to help deal with the stress of exams or as part of my general 'home spa' relaxation strategies," she states. "This all connects strongly to my neuroscience background, as the olfactory nerve that processes smell, connects directly to the limbic pathways of the brain that govern emotions, memory and intuition." These facts on how our brain operates has led to Dr Swart's theory on 'the smell of success', which shows a change of mindset can be enforced by our senses. "When we visualise success," Dr Swart shares, "we can also include a soundtrack that inspires confidence and motivation.
Equally, we can anchor a certain smell to this vision of success and carry it around as a balm or a rollerball, to create a neural pathway in the brain by inhaling that scent each time we have a quick win. This is what I call the smell of success and it is self-perpetuating."

And it's not just our personal development we can use this technique for, but our mental wellbeing. In the uncertain times that Coronavirus has caused us, where spouts of loneliness and depression are expected to rise due to social distancing and quarantine, this act of visualising through scent can be a necessary saviour. "Just as smell has a potent effect on the brain and our emotions, this also has a cascade effect on the nerves and hormones throughout our bodies. Simply inhaling deeply can relax our peripheral nervous system and calm us down," she explains. "Having a bath with a homely smell such as cinnamon, can be an antidote to loneliness as it releases the bonding hormone oxytocin." Showing wellness and health go hand in hand.

A treat for your mind and body; the Revive Aromatherapy Associates Massage is available in the Spa we're currently sitting in, "this treatment works from your head to toe, it dissolves away all of your stress and tension," explains Dr Swart. Using the products from the new Revive range - with the choice of using Morning or Night oils depending on the time of the treatment, expect your mind to feel focused and stimulated, as the tension drains from your body, and as Dr Swart notes, repeating this process will aid "re-wiring negative habits towards self-love and general wellbeing." The products aren't just confined to the luxurious spa setting, use the Revive Morning Shower & Bath Oil to put you in the right mindset for the day ahead, and the Rollerball for daily top ups of the Neroli and Grapefruit essential oils that are included in the range. 

While amidst the pandemic pandemonium that is going on with the world, I walk out of the spa (unsurprisingly, but also surprisingly) feeling uplifted. In this moment of global crisis, it's reassuring to know that we can motivate our minds during this tricky time. 'The smell of success' may not be used for much career development while we're stuck at home, but at least we can vouch for it as a technique to calm our anxieties about the future - and that is the smell of success we need.

Shop more Aromatherapy Associates products below:

More More More!

+ In conversation with the Haekels founder, Dom Bridges... 

+ Skin Tales: Visiting a Dermatologist in your 40s...

+ Surprise Me!