Our sense of smell is one of the most powerful senses we possess, and the merest hint of something familiar can trigger a special memory or wonderful moment in our lives that we treasure for ever. Olfaction, also known as sense of smell, is the most primal and mysterious of our six senses. Throughout human evolution, our sense of smell has been a key to our survival. Humans are capable of distinguishing thousands of unique odors. Have you ever smelled something and been taken away immediately to another place or time? I have all the time, and scent has the potential to transport you.
Why is smell so closely linked with memory? One reason is that the olfactory bulb, the part of the brain that processes smell, interacts with regions of the brain that are responsible for storing emotional memories. Through the process of conditioned learning, a smell becomes associated with the particular experience, person, or time period with which it is repeatedly paired. Our sense of smell is the most evocative sense but it is often overlooked because we rely so much on what we see and what we hear
The idiosyncrasies of smell-related perception are largely determined by prior learning and your personal history, but there are also cultural and geographic variations. i.e., In North America and Europe citrus scents are perceived as bright and happy smells, while lavender is perceived as calming. In Japan, jasmine is associated with a relaxed mood. Rose water is viewed as being an energizing and happy scent.
Choosing particular scents can have a very positive impact on our feelings and emotions, a practice more commonly known as Aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is a form of alternative therapy that uses the essential oils for the purpose of altering a person's mood or cognitive health. There are particular scents that can impact the brain in a specific way, by either promoting calm or stimulation, and these are the scents that Aromatherapists traditionally turn to. That said, any scent that is associated with a positive memory can impact the brain positively and the scents that we tend to like are scents we have usually formed our own positive memories with.
There are several pleasant scents which can wake you up if you are feeling drowsy. Some of the best known of these are the citrus scents. These aromas tend to promote clear thinking, creativity and increased energy. Here are six scents that I recommend for boosting your productivity, mood and more at work:
1. Lemon. This scent promotes concentration and has calming and clarifying properties that are helpful when you're feeling angry, anxious or run down. Lemon also has antiviral and antibacterial properties and can help fight sore throats and colds by boosting the body's immune system and improving circulation.
2. Lavender. This essential oil has calming properties that help control emotional stress. Lavender has a soothing effect on nerves and can relieve nervous tension and depression as well as treat headaches and migraines.
3. Jasmine. Like lavender, jasmine it is also used to calm nerves, but this oil is also commonly used as an anti-depressant because of its uplifting capabilities that produce a feeling of confidence, optimism and revitalized energy.
4. Rosemary. This is the perfect Monday morning pick-me-up. In addition to improving memory retention, rosemary has stimulating properties that fight physical exhaustion, headaches and mental fatigue. Rosemary can also be used topically to relieve muscular aches and pains.
5. Cinnamon. The stimulating properties in cinnamon can help fight mental fatigue and improve concentration and focus.
6. Peppermint. Try peppermint when brainstorming. An energy booster, this scent invigorates the mind, promotes concentration and stimulates clear thinking.