Seasonal changes are always opportunities for change, and besides the new year, September has always been an important time for me to take stock, review habits and make adjustments that will (hopefully) carry me over the next few months. 


Last week I wrote about wanting to lose a bit of weight before winter set in, and one of the tactics I'm using is aromatherapy. While you might associate using scent to change a mood with massages and expensive candles, aromatherapy actually has far more uses than most of us realize, and it's not all about making a room smell pretty.


21 Drops takes the art and science of scent to the next level; the company makes roll-on scent combos that help with all sorts of life's challenges, from PMS to hangovers to lack of inspiration. 


I chose two scents that I thought might help me with my own needs surrounding weight loss: Willpower, a mix of cedarwood, ginger rhizome and geranium that it is designed to "encourage pluck, purpose and volition." I also ordered Abstain, a mix of cardamom, grapefruit rind and juniper berry oils. According to the 21 Drops site, "The oils in this blend help combat overindulgence by working on the underlying emotions often associated with unchecked longing. Our Abstain blend goes a long way to help you feel satisfied, quenched and energized."


I use the Willpower oil before eating — whether it is the mental reminder to myself to be aware of what I'm eating before I dig in, the invigorating scent, or both, it does help to keep me on track and is a good reminder not to overindulge (eating too much, too often is my basic dietary challenge). I use the Abstain therapy less, but it is handy — and satisfying — to use while I'm working before it's mealtime so I'm not tempted to snack. 


Overall, I'm a fan of using scent, which taps into a different, older part of the brain than visual or aural encouragements or clues. How does it work? 


21 Drops' site explains it thusly: "When essential oils are inhaled through the nose, aromatic molecules are carried through the lining of the nasal cavity via tiny olfactory nerves, located in the roof of the inner nose, to the part of the brain called the limbic system. The limbic system in turn influences the endocrine system and the autonomic nervous system."


I also like applying essential oils to my skin, since smelling lovely is a sweet bonus when using products like this.


Have you ever used aromatherapy? Does it work for you?


Related aromatherapy story on MNN: What is aromatherapy?


Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers conscious consumption, health and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and ideas.

Aromatherapy to prevent bad habits: It works for me
21 Drops has helped make me more aware of the habits I want to kick — via scent.