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Freshly laundered bedding, coffee, lavender and Indian restaurants are among a list of smells which make the nation’s women feel truly happy, according to new research.

We conducted a study into the scents that evoke happiness, and it revealed that men are more likely to find joy in the smell of bacon cooking, new cars, real log fires – and their mum’s Sunday roast. Overall, nine in ten of the 1,500 adults polled said certain aromas take them right back to previous situations or key life moments which made them happy. Also making the list of popular scents amongst British women are newly-washed hair, babies and chocolate, with men preferring the smell of a barbecue and freshly baked bread.

The smell of chocolate and freshly baked bread are amongst our favourites

Women were found to prefer the smell of chocolate, while men enjoy the scent of freshly baked bread

One in ten blokes said the smell of box fresh trainers makes them happy and 14 percent said you can’t beat the aroma of a just-pulled pint. 16 percent love the whiff of whiskey and one in twenty said the smell of their dad’s workshop or shed instantly reminds them of their childhood and makes them truly happy. A quarter of women said they like the smell of pages in a book and also the scent of candles when they are first blown out.

Both sexes claim the smell of the seaside is most likely to remind them of happy holidays, followed by suntan lotion and fish and chips. Not only this, but three quarters said the smell of the British seaside instantly transports them back to family holidays as a child.

The survey also found that 82 percent of those polled even believe scents such as fish and chips and ice cream smell better when you’re on holiday. Nearly all Brits (96 percent) believe in the old saying that fresh air can do you the world of good, and think the best place to get a dose of it is the seaside, followed by a brisk walk in the country and a trek on a blustery coastal path.

Fish and chips by the beach

Fish and chips are thought to smell even better on holiday

Smell Expert Tim Jacob, Professor Emeritus at Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences, said: “Smell affects mood, and some aromas have specific effects, for example lavender is calming and rosemary is stimulating.

“We can make associations between smells and experiences – a process called conditioned association. The smell of toast is a positive aroma for many people because it brings back happy memories of family breakfasts and the smell of suntan lotion evokes the excitement of holidays.

“The greater the emotion experienced at the time, the stronger the association. A smell can take you back to a particular event or reminds you of a particular person, and has unique access to the emotional centres of the brain which trigger not only memory but also the emotions associated with the memory.”

James Shaw, Chief Marketing Officer at Sykes Holiday Cottages, added: “So many smells evoke happiness – including our favourite food and drink, as well as those we associate with holidays. It’s interesting that the scent of the seaside ranks really highly for both men and women, but probably goes some way in explaining why a trip to the coast is such a mood-booster. Staycations are on the rise as people look to experience all the UK has to offer, and also relive the sights, sounds and smells of British breaks they remember from childhood.”

Image credits: Lee McCoy, Andrew Dunn, Pixabay

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