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Day 18 - Why are candles so calming?

Today you opened a candle in the Advent box – we often use candles in our wellbeing boxes because they are scientifically proven to improve your mental state and generate positive health benefits.

So how do candles help our wellbeing?

The Low Light Puts The Brain In A Relaxed State

Watching television, working on the computer or smartphone bombards your brain with a high-intensity light - “blue light.” Over time, this light can cause anxiety.

Though we may need these lights for our daily life, we also need a break from them to maintain our health and sanity. Low light helps induce a relaxed mental state, so turn off the lights in your house and light a few candles. In just a few minutes, your brain waves will start to slow down, and you will feel calmer.

If you are interested in the science of it, looking at a candle flame allows our brain to shift from a beta brainwave to an alpha brainwave state. That means we shift gears from alertness and reactivity into relaxation and creativity. While we need both states for a healthy brain function, we often forget to allow ourselves to slip into that alpha brainwave state.

When you feel anxious you of course have a more challenging time falling asleep. As a result, falling asleep takes longer, and you don’t stay asleep as you should. When you are stressed, your body releases hormones, like adrenaline, to boost your alertness and increase your heart rate.

Relaxation, on the other hand, leads to much better quality sleep. You fall asleep more quickly, stay asleep longer, and the overall quality of your sleep is much improved.

The Flame Helps Provide A Point Of Focus

Trying to empty your mind and shut out all distractions is difficult if you do not have a point to focus on. A lighted candle helps provide precisely that point of focus, thereby increasing your state of relaxation and ability to switch off.

The sound

The whispering, crackling sound that comes out of a candle can help you relax at the end of a hectic day or even calm down frazzled nerves if you are going through a period of anxiety. The candle’s sound offers a point for your ears to focus and thereby help shut out distracting background noise.


Looking At A Candle Flame Can Heighten Self-Awareness

Heightened self-awareness improves your interactions with other people, your interpersonal relationships, and your relationship with yourself.

The relaxed brain waves induced by looking at a burning candle are responsible for your self-awareness. Maintaining a calm mental state, free from stress and anxiety, boosts every aspect of brain activity, and looking at lighted candles is a shortcut to getting there.


Your Immune System Can Benefit From Candles

So much of your body’s health is dependent upon your mental state and emotional health. When your mental state is weak – you are anxious, sleepless, and depressed – you are more likely to get sick. Fatigue and anxiety lead to poor health, which can then cause a vicious cycle with your health as it snowballs.

When you burn candles. your home feels happier, cozier, and more relaxed, and as a result, you will feel like a more balanced person. If you are not familiar with the concept of Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga), it is the feeling of coziness and contentment one feels in their home. It is a Danish concept and some warm candles are a great way to achieve Hygge.


Candles Help Diffuse Essential Oils

Some essential oils are best applied directly to the skin, while others are most effective when they are diffused throughout a room, and candle can do just that!

Some scents may remind you of a pleasant experience in the past and trigger endorphins, the “feel-good” hormones. Sometimes the smell itself merely is pleasing and improves your environment.. Depending on the essential oil, those properties can include relaxation, increased mental clarity and alertness, and many more.

Research hows that different scents can have effects on your emotional and physical state. For example, lavender is a relaxing scent, while peppermint and rosemary are more energizing, enhance focus, and boost concentration. If you have to focus on a task, cinnamon candles can help with mental clarity. Orange and citrus scents reduce stress, promote positivity, and elevate cheerfulness. Apples can control anxiety, and green apples specifically can help with migraines! Vanilla is a joyful scent – light that one up when you feel like snuggling up with your special someone. Jasmine scented candles can help when you’re feeling a bit blue – the list goes on and on.


A great way to start reaping these benefits is to use candles infused with an essential oil. Pick something that you think will work best for you. So the next time you find yourself feeling a little overwhelmed, light a candle (or a few)! Turn on some soft music, grab a book or just stare at the flames, and enjoy reaping the benefits.


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