Aromas and emotions written by Elizabeth Nutter MFHT
Aromas and Emotions
I have been aware that from an early age my sense of smell has always played a key role in my life. I did not realise how significant this role was until I lost it for a week during a bout of sinusitis. My mood plummeted and the world seemed to lose its brightness and its depth. I struggled to cook and could hardly taste food. It was pure bliss a week later when I could smell the food I was putting in my mouth and the taste was many times stronger because of it.
The result of this was that I started to pay more attention to my sense of smell. I no longer take it for granted and have become more aware of how our sense of smell is intrinsically linked with our emotions.
When we breathe in scent molecules enter our nose and through a gland at the top of the nose access the limbic system of our brains. This area of our brain influences our moods and emotions as well as triggering memories. The feelings associated with these memories can also be experienced when smelling an aroma that takes our minds back to a past event.
Thinking about this made me aware of smells that influence my mood and emotions. Here are just a few examples. When I bake the smell always takes me back to coming home from school and the smell in the kitchen as my mum would have baked a cake, scones or some other treat. Consequently, I am aware of feelings of comfort, reassurance and a sense of belonging when baking.
Smelling freshly cut grass always makes me feel happy because it is associated with warm lazy days in summer when it never seems to get dark, nature is thriving and (in my mind at least) nothing seems that bad.
I could go on… wood smoke evokes feelings of excitement as it reminds me of the wide open skies and beautiful clear light I experienced when travelling around South Africa on my honeymoon.
The smell of burnt toast reminds me of my school work experience when I felt grown up and mature because I was working in a hotel waiting on the breakfast shift.
The heady scent of lilies rekindles the excitement, nerves and apprehension of having a baby. As well as the instant overwhelming love and protectiveness that arrives with their birth. I was surrounded by lilies in the hospital after his birth.
Anyway, I could go on but will leave it with you to think of the scents and aromas in your life and the memories and feelings they rekindle.
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