Most of us have heard that our last memories to go are those linked with music and scent. It’s totally amazing that one sniff of something can trigger memories from 30 years prior. My Dad had this happen a few weeks ago when he smelled our babassu butter. It instantly reminded him of the high end, blue goo that the barber used in precious amount at the end of a haircut. He said the younger boys would sit there with their fingers crossed just hoping they would get the goo at the end!
Just like my 3 year old, most of us still like to know WHY? So what makes scent so powerful?
When a smell hits our nose, it sends information to the part of our brain that influences memory, learning, hormone balance and other survival mechanisms. Some people even refer to this as our “smell brain”. Our smell brain is located in our limbic system. The limbic system is part of our brain stem and is considered to be the more primitive part of the brain. That means that it works even without our higher thinking engaged or conscious thought. I mean it makes sense. If we were in the bush searching for something to eat, things that are good for us should smell appetizing and things that could make us sick we should be deterred by. So smell really has a huge key role in keeping us alive. But smell can also make us agitated or relax us too.
I’m pretty fascinated by this and I’m not the only one. There is a name for the science of smell called “aromacology”. Aromacologists have continued to research the effects of smell on the brain and have found that exposure to aromatic plants and substances alter brain waves! They’ve found that exposures to different smells can alter pain states, increase productivity, effect libido, change sleep patterns and even affect personality. It’s through this research that we’ve discovered most people are calmed by the scent of lavender, most people become more attentive when smelling lemon, most people are slightly sedated by neroli…
There is a trick!
We can use our conscious brain to increase the effectiveness of certain essential oils to combat stress and anxiety. By pairing the smell with a state of relaxation, the imprint of the scent of the oil will be linked with relation and induce an even more calming effect on your system.
- Pick An Essential Oil That You Enjoy The Scent Of
- Pick Some Music That You Love
- Pick A Passive Activity That You Find Relaxing Like Reading Or Taking A Bath
- Put It All Together: Diffuse the oil while listening to music and relaxing
- Keep That Scent With You And When You Feel Stress Building, Pull Our Your Bottle and Give It A Sniff
**You can do this with scents that have a negative memory associated with them (like your mean grade 1 teacher’s classroom) to re-train the association and release the deep seated memory. It just takes more time, so be patient.
Here are my top 5 stress reducing smells (at the moment):
So no, diffusers aren’t a fad or a trend, they are popular because people are experiencing real benefits. With the amount of crazy stress in our high-paced lives, I think everyone should invest in one so that they can take some time to unwind at night and alter their brain waves with scent.
Love and Joy