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The Hidden Power of Scents

Power of scents

Memory's Muse

An odor has no personal significance until it becomes connected to something that has meaning. With your initial encounter, you begin forming nerve connections that intertwine the smell with emotions.The olfactory center also interacts directly with the hippocampus, a brain area involved in the formation of new memories. "No other senses have this kind of deep access,"

You also can use smells to evoke a loved one during periods apart, such as sniffing a reminder of that individual—perhaps a used T-shirt or the person's cologne. 

In the Line of Scent: The Mind-Body Connection

Given the intimate interconnections between smell and emotion, it's not surprising that a glitch in one can contribute to problems with the other. Anosmia—complete loss of the sense of smell—often leads to depression. Conversely, people with severe depression often show a diminished sensitivity to odors.

As a significant link in the mind-body connection, the sense of smell can be deployed to improve pain tolerance. Any pleasant smell can act as a distraction and lift mood, but recent studies suggest that sweet smells may work best. "Sweet tastes reduce pain by activating opioid systems in the brain, and the odor comes to activate the same systems," 

Cultivating a Signature Fragrance

The smell that helps you perform better on a test or cope more effectively with pain also helps you shape the impression you make on others. Choose a personal fragrance carefully, being mindful of common cultural associations. A mossy or woody fragrance exudes earthiness, for example, while a musky scent connotes sexiness.

If you want to be remembered, pick a distinctive fragrance that many people haven't encountered. And don't drench yourself in cologne. Just because your own nose adapts to the scent after 15 minutes doesn't mean customers you greet or friends you meet can't still smell it.

 

Source : Psychology Today (Linda Andrews) Linda Andrews is a psychology and health writer in Albuquerque, New Mexico.