All posts by Jen Bickerton

How Aroma Influences Mood

What is your favorite aroma and why? How does that aroma affect your mood and behavior?

My favorite aroma is the smell of coconut lotion. Why? Because my favorite place is the beach and I’ve linked the scent of coconut with the memory associated with my favorite place.

Another example would be the scent of Sunday dinner as I walked into my grandmother’s house. It always gave me a happy and comfortable feeling when I was growing up. It was part savory and part sweet. Those specific spice and fruit aroma’s today still give me that feeling even away from my grandmother’s house because they are intrinsically linked in my mind as a memory with a good feeling.

Influenced by the Experience of Smell

Our emotional and mental state can easily be influenced by the experience of smell. This is because as we sniff an odor, the molecules penetrate the mucous membrane in the nose. The receptors on the hair-like cilia bind with the molecules and send a message through the olfactory nerves to the olfactory bulbs in our brain. From there the signal of the odor is passed to other parts of the brain, most notably the hippocampus and the amygdala.

The hippocampus is where our limbic system (or emotional processing) is located, where emotions, sexual arousal, memory, and even learning can take place. And the amygdala is where our emotions get tied to our memories. So, between the hippocampus and the amygdala, aroma and feelings get connected to evoke emotions subconsciously. Memories almost always invoke an emotion and if a scent is attached to a memory, it may be easy to invoke that emotion when you smell that reminiscent odor.

An Easy Way to Use Aroma

Essential oils, more specifically, have many compounds that may affect us through our olfactory system that are not always connected to memory per se, such as lavender being known to calm and relax, and lemon believed to invigorate. Here is an easy way to use aroma to help set the mood. We all know this to an extent, but why don’t we take advantage of it?

Commercial businesses have figured this out to get us to buy more, or to make us happy when we are shopping. Cosmetic products use purposefully designed fragrances to elicit our purchase. Some stores brand their customer experience with a signature scent that is intended to get you to stay longer and shop more.

Candles, Potpourri and Essential Oils

Now that we know aroma can affect us, our emotions, and moods, and ultimately behaviors, let’s use it to our advantage. We can light our favorited scented candles and put potpourri in our drawers and bathroom. But there is even more we can do!

Aromatherapists use the natural aroma of essential oils to promote feeling better in many ways, from energizing to motivating and relaxing to meditating. Over the past couple years, I was introducing aromatherapy and the positive effect that aroma could have on people by giving them “happy” essential oil recipes.

Combinations of essential oils in a diffuser, a mist, a bath, or a massage oil can do wonders for lifting or calming the spirit. My followers loved it! However, there were a couple dilemmas for my clients. One, buying multiple pure essential oils can get expensive. And since they wanted to have more than one mood, over time they would need to purchase multiple oils for many recipes.

A New Mood Aroma Experience

As I pondered the dilemma and wanted to make it easy for everyone to have this positive life experience, I came up with the idea of the New Mood Aroma subscription. This is a way they could get a new mood delivered to them every month. I took the guess work out of combining the oils and now have pure essential oil blends in personal inhalers. It’s easy and convenient. Twist off the top and waft under the nose. I like to think of it as a way to carry a little self-care in your pocket or purse.

A lot of DIYers will still want to purchase all the oils and experiment with mixing the right ratios to elicit the intended aroma, but for the rest of us I’m excited to announce the New Mood Aroma subscription has launched.

This has been an exciting project for me that started with helping family, friends, and clients. Now I offer it to anyone that wants a way to breathe in happiness. Feel free to check it out at

Hearts & (gentle) Hugs,

Dr. Jen

Celebrating Small Wins Can Make Big Changes

Do you ever feel defeated because of your experience with fibromyalgia? That is easy to do. No lie, I have often felt like giving up. If you are living with fibro, it might feel like you can’t keep up—especially with everyone else (your family, your co-workers, or those that you admire). It’s hard not to compare yourself.

I know how it feels to be too tired to do the things that you want to do, let alone the things you need to do like regular chores, or running errands. I know how defeating it can feel when you have things you want to accomplish and you either just don’t have the energy or are in too much pain.

Focus on Solutions

The first thing I want to encourage is to stop beating yourself up mentally. If you are suffering from fatigue or pain, focus on the solutions to recovery instead of the things you can’t do. I know from my own experience, I’ve spent way too much time and energy being mad at my body, and guess what!? That just pushes me down even more.

However, when I recognize and accept where I am physically and mentally, I can address my needs. When I take care of myself in that moment, hour, day, week, then I improve my chances of getting back on track to work on my to-do list (or as I call it, my remember list 😊, actually a to-do list stresses me out.)

Small Wins

Do you ever pat yourself on the back when you accomplish something on your to-do list? I DO! And you should too because everything that you can check off is a big deal! The fact that you’re living with chronic health challenges means you never know when you are going to be able to do the things you want to. So, if you can check something off, definitely celebrate it.

Another reason to allow yourself to feel that small accomplishment is because our experiences and our responses to our experiences will affect our body chemistry. If you had a small win and feel good about it, it could support more feel-good neurotransmitters that just might promote more potential within you.

Using your recognition of small wins can only inspire. When you feel good about yourself, the body chemistry just may allow you to be able to check one more thing off.

The Big Deal

What’s the big deal? As you accept where you are mentally and physically when you are attempting to do the things you want, you will be less likely to push yourself. What happens when you push past your current mental and physical limits with fibro? It may set you back two steps, four steps, or even feel like 10 steps behind. That can make you feel like you lost any momentum you worked so hard to gain. The big deal here is that as you learn to manage your life with fibro you may have better and better days.

The Key is Feel-Good Chemistry

The key is to recognize where you are and feel good about what you do get done. Feeling satisfied with yourself creates thoughts that support self-esteem. And we know positive thoughts about yourself, can help create your own natural feel-good brain and body chemistry that will support your next efforts to accomplishing your goals.

I know if you are a fibro newbie it may feel like you need to fight, fight, fight. But as a 20-year fibro veteran I know that learning to live life with your own balance, without the stress of fighting the uphill battles, will get you much farther in the long run.

The Good Life Strategy

I do not like to ever admit that there are limits because I know that there are almost always ways around limits. I much rather look at fibromyalgia lifestyle management as strategy. So, celebrate those small wins, they do count! If you did the laundry today, if you went to work, made dinner, or even showered, you did great and don’t let anyone tell you any different.

Stick with me and you can develop your own fibro life strategy. Celebrating small wins boosts your mood and a good mood helps you feel better so that you can do more of what you want. I am offering a Mood & Motivation Challenge for Women with Fibro. It’s easy and free, so you are welcome to join me here:

Celebrating you, my friend!

Hearts & (gentle) Hugs,
Dr. Jen


The No-Fail Resolution for 2022

As we enter a new year, most everyone mentally attempts to let go of the present year as the new year approaches. But for those of us that deal with the effects of fibro, we can be a little hesitant as a new year is dawning. What I call our body-budget somewhat controls how optimistic we are. And that is understandable because we are subconsciously basing our anticipation of future events on our past experiences– especially if we have dealt with a lot of pain.

But I want to share something I discovered 3 years ago. After being tired of never fulfilling or accomplishing my well-intentioned new year resolutions, I decided to do it a little different. To my surprise, it was the best year I ever had! So, I did it again, and again. And here I sit ready to do it again.

Instead of a Resolution

Instead of outlining all the things I want to do, be or have, every year I choose a Word of the Year to serve as my beacon for keeping me on track, kind of like a light in the dark that reminds me of the direction I’m headed. It becomes my chosen direction for the year and symbolizes how I want to grow personally.

The word must be representative of my intention in the new year. I like this so much better than resolutions because it gives me flexibility with an element of delight and surprise as time passes. It means I cannot fail!

I always learn something, and my life is better for it in so many ways. I’ve never regretted the word I chose. The word becomes my mantra when I am feeling stuck and when I need help focusing my life. The word becomes my anchor for the year. I learn about it, use it and lean on it. It comforts me, supports me, encourages me and leads me.

One of the greatest parts about having a Word of the Year is that there are no deadlines! And I continue to be influenced by past Words of the Year because they become positive patterns in my mind that cement positive behaviors in my life.

Here is some guidance I’ve developed on choosing your Word of the Year:

  • Take your time when choosing your word. The word should be one that inspires you, makes you feel good and helps your mind embrace possibility and creativity.
  • The word needs to be one that you can commit to for 365 days. It will be your focal point upon awakening in the morning and a comfortable reprieve when you lay your head down at night.
  • The word should bring you joy when you think it, speak it, write it, hear it, and see it. You should find pleasure in studying the definition of your word and applying it in your own life. Journal with your word as a prompt and hold it in your heart and mind as it works miracles in your life.
  • The word should feel easy but leave you with room to grow and expand your thought and being. It should feel like a seed that excites you for the year and fills you with hope.

Some Examples

You will be surprised how often this word will make itself known to you– as if it takes on a life of its own it will present itself to you in print, conversation and contemplation.

Here are some sample words to help you explore ideas for choosing your Word of the Year:


Some Helpful Rules

You can choose a root word and then all forms of that word can also be used throughout the year.

  • content, contented, contentment
  • believe, belief, believable
  • hope, hopeful, hoping
  • help, helpful, helping, helped
  • guide, guiding, guided, guidance

OH, one more thing! And this is so important. You must NOT tell anyone your Word of the Year. You do not want their thoughts, critique, or influence to affect the power of your word in your life.

Use a word that lifts and empowers you without putting pressure on yourself. Some words like “success” and “love” are loaded words because they already have ingrained definitions in our minds and thus are entangled within us physically. So be aware that if you choose a word that may cause a trigger feeling, all the beliefs about that word may need to be examined and redefined before proceeding.

I believe it is far better to choose a word you do not have previous sentiment to, but one that invokes intriguing possibilities and opportunities within you when you say it and think it.

You can either use an online thesaurus or your intuition to find just the right word to be your invitation for a mindful journey in 2022. However, do not become overly concerned about your word because whatever word you choose will benefit you all year no matter what!

Hearts & (gentle) Hugs,

Dr. Jen

Feel free to contact me at or through I would love to hear from you!