The aroma of fresh coffee scented with cinnamon wraps my awakening body and blends with the pungent scent of Rosemary shampooed hair.

cup_of_coffeerosemary sprig

The smell of normal creates a soothing cocoon.

burn toaster

Scorched toast alerts awareness prior to the shrieking smoke alarm and my feeling of normalcy rapidly retreats.  I have been imprinted with a stress response, a call to action.


Smell often a first response to stimuli is also intimately linked to the parts of the brain that process emotion and associative learning.


Do you want to change your emotional state &/or promote learning?   Try altering your smell environment.

 For some ideas follow this link to Surprising Facts about Our Sense of Smell http://scentofdesire.com/index_files/Page307.htm

These are a few of my favorites.

  • Smells can alter and influence our moods and our behaviors.

I’ve used this property of smell to sooth-hospitalized patients and promote healing.

Once when visiting my father in the hospital, I brought along some natural aromatic oils to administer a foot massage.  Within minutes my father was comforted and the halls surrounding his room no longer contained the sharp sounds of emergency.  His nurse wore a soft smile as he breathed deeply.

Wouldn’t it be nice if all hospitals could smell safe, clean and calm?

  • Nearly all smells have a feel to them, such as a cooling feel with menthol or a burning feel with ammonia.

I’ve discovered that the ‘smell feel’ is very individualized and frequently anchored to past experiences and geography.  For example my children did not have the musty smell of a basement to associate with the feeling of visiting grandma’s house.  They do have the smell memory of roasting green chilies to recall their New Mexico heritage.  Perhaps, this is why they requested green chilies in their college dorm care package.

  • You can create smell illusions with words. 

The Free Dictionary http://www.thefreedictionary.com/smell gives multiple examples of authors using words in this way.

         The air smelled like damp flannel — Jonathan Kellerman.

         Smell (of carnations) … thick as smoke in the sunMary Stewart

           A kitchen odor hung about like a bad mood —Tom Maclntyre.

           (Soft-spoken women) smelling like washed babies —Philip Levin 

Discover more about our mysterious sense of smell from an expert.   Read Dr. Rachel Herz’s blog.   http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/smell-life

Since researching this blog, I have become more aware of how smell is used in everyday conversation to get a point across.  “I smell a rat.”  is short and to the point.

This summer I was exposed to a West Coast phrase I hadn’t heard before.   “I smell what you’re stepping in?”  It made me laugh and still does.   It’s a very effective and polite response to someone trying to scam you. 

Today I’m spraying my home with lemon essence to create the illusion of cleanliness and roasting garlic in the oven to stimulate the impression of home cooking.  Oh yes, I’m also placing a smudge of vanilla extract on my wrist to alleviate my carbohydrate (sugar) cravings.

Wishing you good smells.



2 responses »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s