That Familiar Scent: How We Map Scent in Our Unconscious and Can Use This to Reduce Stress

That Familiar Scent: How We Map Scent in Our Unconscious and Can Use This to Reduce Stress

When my eight-year daughter opened our back door, we could both smell the sweet concord grapes. We both took in a deep breath enjoying the aroma. My daughter said, “When I smell our grapes, I just know it is going to be a good day.” 

I found this very endearing and my mind wandered to a time when she might be quite a bit older. Would she pass by a grape vine and remember this favorite childhood scent? Or would it be muddled in her subconscious where so many of our memories fade but are not truly forgotten.

Is there a scent that does that for you? For a lot of people, the citruses are quite easy to like. The molecules that make up citruses are light or small molecules. They are very easy for us to smell and apparently many foods and herbs have these smaller molecules.

Smell is a much more powerful sense compared to taste in part because we can analyze and distinguish between more smells than tastes. But even more profound is that smell maps directly to the olfactory bulb which in turn links to the limbic system and therefore the subconscious. We can use this understanding to reverse engineer habits.

I combine my blends with meditations and mindfulness activities to help clients break through patterns and habits as well as lift trauma and grief to a manageable level. When you combine aromas that delight or evoke memories with intentional activities, you are far more likely to move to a new understanding of past unhealthy behaviors.

Take a moment and think of an aroma that evokes a good memory and see if you can find an element that reminds you of that smell. You can use this smell to help deal with low level anxiety that creeps into your daily life. I recommend creating it as a salve or roller bottle and using it just as symptoms onset to quell stress.