One Scent at a time!
Stop! Seriously. Just take a moment and pause and allow yourself the opportunity to reflect on the many experiences, the seemingly endless array of moments that threaded together make up this most gorgeous day you just got to experience. Can you do that?? Actually sit down for just a few minutes, close your eyes and just breathe? Most people can’t. And they have a million and one excuses that might actually appear to be very compelling. But the truth is, most of us are so super programmed to do do do-go go go that we never take the time to just be, let alone reflect on the multitude of blessings that occurred through out the day.
But what does this have to do with aromatherapy? The olfactory system, is often under rated and I believe it needs to receive a little more recognition. I mean millions of dollars are spent in marketing a multitude of scents that are supposed to make you more sexy and more beautiful. Others that make you sweet and delicate and some that make you bold and powerful. Maybe another time I can write about the manipulation of marketing, but for now I want to talk about this under appreciated sense.
The olfactory system basically provides a direct route to the brain. Every other sense must go through a series of ‘transfer stations’ before it is processed by the brain and appropriate signals are sent out. But the nose is direct. Think about it. I am about to fly cross-country. There are several different options all about the same price. One flight takes me directly from San Francisco to Fort Lauderdale. The other options have an additional stop in Atlanta, Dallas or New York. The direct flight gets me to where I am going faster. Lessons the chance of my bags not arriving with me. Reduces the number of times taking off and landing, while limiting the amount of time spent in airports and the potential for missing connecting flights. Ok, maybe not the best analogy, however the power of scent to effect the brain is direct and smooth just like my direct flight later this month!
Belonging to the Olfactory System, when we use our nose, the scent flows directly to the amygdala, the core of our emotions. According to Dr. Pert1this system provokes strong memories and associations because it is unfiltered. No transfer stations, simple direct access to the brain and its emotional center. Think about the stimulating smell of coffee or the mouth-watering smell of fresh baked cookies?
The purpose of this writing is simply a suggestion to encourage you to remember to stop and smell the roses. Or whatever else might bring sensations of joy and happiness in and around you. Perfumer Christophe Laudamiel states “Scents are very much linked to memory. They are linked to remembering the past but also learning from experiences.”2
Dr. Mercola shares that this correlation may be related to how the brain processes odors and memories. Smells get routed through your olfactory bulb, which is the smell-analyzing region in your brain. It’s closely connected to your amygdala and hippocampus, brain regions that handle memory and emotion.3 We must keep in mind however that scents can trigger both positive or negative memories.
My early studies in yoga have inspired many aspects of my life”. Although I still have the cassette, just no where to play it, it repeated over and over in mantra fashion “Awareness is freedom from non essential, self limiting thought.” This has taught me that my thoughts create my reality and how I feel is reflected in the world around me. So, if a simple tool, like using essential oils can assist us in altering our mood and such enhance our emotions in the moment, then why wouldn’t you try it? For even if a temporary fix to help support a challenging situation, or for use as an intentional disruption or to enhance an already accelerated sensation of vibrating happiness, joy and contentment. Honestly, I think everyone should be walking around with a EO bottle of choice in their pocket! Don’t you?
I believe that through our nose we have the potential to activate a greater potential for well-being!
Wishing everyone moments of peace & joy!
One sniff at a time!
Candace B. Pert, Ph.D. Molecules of Emotion: Why you feel the way you feel. Scribner 1997
Humphries, Courtney. A Whiff of History. Boston.com July 17, 2011
Dr. Dr. Mercola. Why Smells Trigger Strong Memories. August 6, 2015. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/…/smells-triggermemories.aspx
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