Mindful Monday no. 47: Evoking Positive Memories with Scents

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“The smell of moist earth and lilacs hung in the air like wisps of the past and hints of the future.”

-Margaret Millar

Do you have a scent that reminds you of childhood? For me, the scent of lilac has always been evocative of my childhood. I spent the years growing up under the beautiful lilac tree in our front yard.Every spring, the tree would bloom and the scent would waft through the air.

Now, when I breathe in the lilac’s fragrance each spring, I am transported back in time. I remember laying out in the freshly mowed grass, devouring novels under its branches. I remember picking bunches of them for a vase in my bedroom.

The sense of smell can trigger memories and emotions, more than any other of our senses. A scent is processed in our bodies through the olfactory bulb, which is connected to the amygdala and hippocampus-two areas of the brain are related to our emotions and memories.The things we touch, see, and hear don’t have the same power as scents because they are processed elsewhere in the brain.

We can use scents as a powerful tool to evoke positive memories. 

If you have warm memories of your grandmother baking pumpkin pies in fall, burn a pumpkin spice candle in your home.

If you always associated your mother with her favourite perfume, pick up its heart notes with an essential oil like rose, sandalwood, or bergamot.

If you the smell of coffee reminds you of your father’s morning ritual, take a moment to savour the scent when you are making the cup.

As you breathe in the scent, recall your positive memory and allow your body to sit with the feelings in meditation.

What scents evoke strong memories for you? I would love to know in the comment section.

Lindsay

 

 

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