Smell is one of our most powerful senses. In fact, it is the most powerful.
Each day, we breathe about 20,000 times and inhale over 200 cubic feet of air. A large-sized microwave is about 1.5 cubic feet. On a daily basis, you are breathing in over 100 microwaves. Smell influences our behavior, affects our moods, controls cravings and can even arouse our desire. Our culture overwhelms us with stimulation of sight and sound, yet, smell can be a deal breaker.
Consider the following scenario:
Your dream boy/girl is giving you a sexy strip tease (sight, checked). He/She dances seductively to, say, Janet Jackson’s “I get so lonely” (sound, checked). But as he/she removes the shirt, you catch a whiff of very strong BO. NOT OKAY!
Each breath carries tremendous amount of information about our environment that our smell receptors confer to our brain. Smell directly connects with the amygdala (processes emotion) and hippocampus (associative learning). Not only does smell influences how we feel, it is also something we acquire. I lived in Taiwan when I was a kid. A favorite local snack of mine is stinky tofu (chao dofu) — fried fermented bean curd. I find the smell (many dislike it) heavenly. How accepting we are to scent has to deal with exposure. Hence, it is not surprising that I used to abhor blue cheese, stinky!
While our sense of smell cannot compete with dogs (the average dog’s nose is 10,000 to 100,000 times more sensitive to odors than us), we can identify about 10,000 different odors. That’s not too shabby.
According to Insider Health, study reveal that just the aroma of coffee is enough to affect the brain of sleep-deprived rats.
There you have it, smell affects mood, work performance, study, and other behaviors. A great way to relax, ASAP, is to embrace aromatherapy. You can easily incorporate essential oils into your routine: massage, facial, inhale, bathe
- Chamomile: Help with depression
- Cinnamon, Rosemary: Improve memory retention and fight fatigue, headaches
- Lavender, Jasmine: Sooth and clam nerves, relieve tension and alleviate depression.
- Lemon: Promote concentration, with calming properties
- Peppermint: Increase mental sharpness
What’s your favorite scent?
Herz, Rachel S. “Do Scents Affect People’s Moods or Work Performance?” Scientific American Global RSS. N.p., 11 Nov. 2002. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.
Vorsterman, Luke. “Smell Your Way to a Better Mood.” Smell Your Way to a Better Mood. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.