When you take a whiff of the scent of pumpkin pie, what feeling do you have? Perhaps it gives you a feeling of comfort, or perhaps you feel sadness. How can that be? At first, you may not even realize that the scent is evoking a certain type of personal emotion, but it is. Your sense of smell is one of your most powerful senses. It is the only sense that can have a powerful impact on your memories and emotions.
“Of all our five senses, our sense of smell is most strongly and directly linked to the part of the brain that processes emotions and memories. None of our other senses have that power, which is why it’s so important — it affects our day-to-day behavior and the way we interact with others,” believes Rachel Herz, leading world expert on the psychology of smell, professor at Brown University and Boston University, and author of the new book, “The Scent of Desire: Discovering Our Enigmatic Sense of Smell.”
Herz has spent decades researching the power of the human body’s sense of smell. As the seasons change, different scents help impose times of renewal and transformation in our lives. Embracing the fragrances around us seasonally can inspire exhilaration and enhance our mood in a positive way.
Autumn scents like Pumpkin, Clove, Nutmeg, Apples, Black Pepper, Balsam Fir, and Cinnamon are fantastic to bring into your home this time of year, but your nose knows if you continue to smell the same pumpkin scent over and over. Herz explains it is extremely important to have a collection of fragrances in your home, and not just one scent.
“When you have a collection of fragrances, you can build upon your mood and emotions through smell,” commented Herz. “It is a personal journey, but if your nose smells the same scent over and over then your nose will literally stop perceiving it.”
It’s best to mix and match fragrances and personalize the scents to your liking. Everyone has a unique sense of smell, which is why personal journey and exploration are so important with our senses, especially for multiple people living in a home. For example, if you love the scent of spice and your spouse loves the scent of fresh woods, then create a blend of fragrances to complete the perfect scent that is compatible to both senses. It’s easy to blend essential oils to achieve the perfect scent. Together, you may try clove, nutmeg and Idaho Balsam Fir to get that spicy-wooded aroma fragrance blend that appeals to each other’s senses.
Essential oils are the perfect resource to use to create unique scents and blends to impact emotions. When it comes to the senses, Herz recommends that you pay attention to what is around them.
We tend to be a society of people who take walks with our headphones on or Facebook while sitting on a park bench. Herz says we need to do it differently. When you are walking through that floral garden, it’s best to pay attention instead, and “stop and smell the roses.” Herz believes that the more we pay attention to the scents around us, then the better our olfactory system works. By practicing smell and smelling more, research shows you can improve your sense of smell.
“The more you pay attention, then you can smell more,” stated Herz. “When you pay attention to autumn, you will be surprised at how much fragrance is around you, and how it can transform you as you go from one season to the next.”
There is also hope for your loved one who says the smell of pumpkins makes him upset because his Mom made him eat pumpkin pie in the fall and it wasn’t his favorite food. He needs to smell more pumpkin. Again, the more you are exposed to a scent over time, the less likely you are to perceive the scent over time. Blend, blend, blend to keep your senses surprised and invigorated.
Read this article also on our digital magazine Autumn Spice Issue. Read the entire issue now!