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The Power of Our Sense of Smell

Have you ever been outside in a park and the scent from the flowers instantly take you back in time to a place that you visited as a child with those same flowers? Have you ever been walking down the street and someone passing by is wearing your grandfathers favorite cologne and for a moment you flash to days gone by and it is almost like he is there with you? Or the sweater that your mother wore before she passed away and you don’t want to wash it because it smells like her and it brings you comfort now that she’s gone? I remember my brother and I used to smell the food on the table to decide if we liked it or not. Our mother hated that and always said, “How do you know you don’t like it without tasting it?”

Like most of you, I have had many of those “time machine” moments. What I find curious is when I look back on my life, I might have a vivid memory of something, like my childhood playground in Riverside California, I remember the kids, the swings, etc. but, during that memory, I had no recollection of the scents in the air, just the activities and some of the people. Most of us don’t relate a memory to our sense of smell. Yet when we smell that scent again, we remember it like it was yesterday and new details are remembered. What is it that is so powerful that just the whiff of a scent from our past can take us to a real life experience that we had when we were six years old? The secret lies within the Limbic System of the brain which it is responsible for our behavior, emotion, motivation, our long-term memory and the olfactory. The Limbic System is mainly responsible for our emotional life, and has a great deal to do with the formation of memories. The Olfactory System, located within the Limbic System, acts as the super computer system to our sense of smell and taste. {See diagram above} This system is so strong and has such a large database that it can remember most every scent you have ever encountered in your life along with the emotional response you felt at the time.

As a Hypnotherapist, I use this strong sense of smell to work with clients on study habits, memory retention, and public speaking, to name a few. I have found, when I introduce the scent during hypnosis, and then giving the client a baggie with a cotton ball that has been doused with the scent to be used later, they are able to tap into their own memory, and what used to be a difficult task is now easily faced, without the negative memory they once had.

If you do not have the opportunity to seek out hypnosis, you could try this process

consciously and it will assist you, as well. For instance, if you are studying for a test, introduce the essential oil of orange while you are studying and then just before the test, reintroduce the scent. You will be amazed at how powerful this process can be for you.

Our sense of smell is powerful and it can and does take us places. So, the next time an aroma passes by your nose and it makes an impression on you, your Olfactory System is recording what is happening at that moment, what you were doing, where you were, who you were with, the emotion of the moment, and that aroma. Isn’t that one of life’s amazing gifts? I am grateful for my sense of smell and always amazed at the power of our mind and our body.

Many Bright Blessings!

Saundra Berry, C.Ht.

My new book, “Healing at the Vortex, A Practical Guide to Balance and Maintain Your Chakras” is now available on at




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#olfactory #memory #scent #hypnotherapy

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