Thursday, January 30, 2014

Of Candles and Bird Song

Here are two ways to look at scented candles: (1) they are a pricey gimmick that give us just another excuse to spend money and accumulate stuff, and (2) they are a ridiculously clever brain hack. A while back, while browsing a Yankee Candle outlet store, I switched my perspective from former to the latter. This wasn't a store full of overpriced tchotchkes, but a store full of low cost and simple ways of altering one's environment and mood.

Science even agrees:

Charles Spence is a psychology professor at the University of Oxford who has done much work in multisensory perception. He says "Scents and fragrances can alter our mood, often for the better. Your sense of smell has the shortest connection to the emotional parts of the brain so scents can change your mood before you realize why. This route is so short and direct that our conscious thinking brain can't really step in and modulate…with all other senses, you have to process the information first. But with smell, it's right there, changing your emotions and triggering me”

And what does this have to do with Bird Song? Take a trip over to (thanks ImprovisedLife!) to find out. Or better yet, install the App., as you probably guessed, is a website that streams nothing but birdsong. And like the Fluffy Towels™ candle your wife just purchased, it makes for a super simple way to alter your environment. Only, you can't set your office on fire by accident while using it during work.

Go listen and become Chill.

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