The Power of Scent
Posted: 20 November 2021
The human nose can detect thousands of scents, and these scents can generate all sorts of emotions, which are personal to each and every one of us!
The power of Scent
The human nose can detect thousands of scents, and these scents can generate all sorts of emotions, which are personal to each and every one of us! A particular smell can make our heart soar, promote relaxation or have us reminiscing on golden memories.
As smell and emotion are stored as one memory, thanks to our limbic system (portion of the brain that controls memory and emotion), our experiences, particularly during childhood, create the foundation for scents you will enjoy or detest for the rest of your life. For example, the smell of freshly cut grass may take you back to your childhood, running wildly in the summer heat; the smell of fresh jasmine may evoke memories of your wedding day, making your heart soar; whereas the smell of cheap vodka may have you dry-retching over your club-fuelled early adulthood.
Scent is pretty damn powerful, and in my opinion, an underrated and underused wellness tool. When smell is utilised correctly, it can be an incredible tool for promoting relaxation. Aromatherapy is the term for this branch of holistic healing treatment and is well-recognised for its beneficial effects on emotional wellbeing. Scent is also used in mindfulness practices to encourage being in the present, rather than caught up with overactive thoughts.
So, how do I incorporate this into my life?
As we’ve gathered, scent is very personal, so choosing which scents to incorporate into your life will depend on your experiences. The best way to notice your favourites is simply to start smelling! – experience nature, smell flowers and plants, notice spices/herbs when cooking. Really tune in and see what emotions or memories are evoked.
Although there is no written rule, perfumers have established scent families to be a great way for discovering different emotions. This can be a great place to start, particularly if investing in essential oils or natural perfumes.
Scent Families & Possible Benefits
Awakening, refreshing and energising
Lemon, sweet orange, grapefruit, bergamot, yuzu, mandarin, lime
Grounding and strengthening
Sandalwood, Buddha wood, vetiver, patchouli, cedarwood, amyris, Peru balsam.
Peace, purity and love
Neroli, jasmine, magnolia, rose, blue tansy, ylang ylang, lavender, orange blossom
GREEN / HERBAL FAMILY
Soothing, calming and restorative
Galbanum, violet leaf, rosemary, coriander, clary sage, peppermint, petitgrain, juniper berry
Take the time to find the scents that suit you, include them in your daily ritual, and you may be surprised at how much they can assist emotional wellbeing.
Eat well, giggle regularly and go gently with yourself - your body will thank you for it.
About the Author
Laura Ballin is a Clinical Naturopath (BHSc) passionate about empowering individuals to reconnect with their body and return home to their true self. After battling with an eating disorder and various digestive concerns, Laura has a special interest in the gut, mental health, women’s hormonal health and skin conditions. Laura is available for consultations in South-East Queensland and online.