Ever wondered about the link between smell, memory and emotions?
It’s true that there’s a very strong connection!
For this weeks post we’re featuring the writings from one of our lab visitors! Nonna recently attended our apprentice workshop and created a beautiful fragrance called ‘New Beginnings”. Nonna’s experience at the EPC lab inspired her to write and post about the link between scent, memory and emotions. In her own words “By day, I design training at a high street bank on ethical selling and effective leadership. By night, I write about what inspires me as I explore the world around me…”
Here us her full article that you can find on Medium too…
An Underrated Multiplier
I found a perfect time machine that can instantly immerse me back into the most cherished chapters of my life. As I take the plunge into the past, I can feel all bygone emotions and thoughts rushing through me with the reinvigorated force. It connects me back to the energy that drove me then, and it reincarnates the yearning and determination I felt at a time.
It is vivid and powerful, yet it is also fleeting.
It is right under your nose. It starts with just one breath.
This is a power of scent…
Scent is a time machine.
Scent evokes memories that stay with us long after the visual images fade. A hint of sunscreen scent can immediately bring us back to lazy summer days on a seaside and make us yearn to feel young, playful and carefree again.
Scent also has the power to trigger some long-gone feelings. A certain smell of a certain someone who is no longer around can make us feel nostalgic and send us down a rabbit hole of all the what-ifs and should-haves.
Our sense of smell is one of the most powerful senses we possess, yet it is often overlooked as we mainly rely on what we see and what we hear. It is because our capacities for both smell and emotion are rooted in the same network of brain structures, and no other sense has the same kind of deep access to the brain part where emotions are born and memories stored.
Scent is a powerful psychological tool.
Exploring how different odors influence our emotions, behaviors and decisions has captivated the minds of many scientists. There is a lot of evidence to showcase how pleasant smells can make us feel more charitable, more frivolous when spending money, more determined when working out and even less risk averse when gambling.
It didn’t take long for the marketing firms to start capitalising on the power of scent. From sports stadiums and fashion shows to medical offices and retail stores, scent marketing is being used to tap into customers’ emotions on a deeper level in hopes of enhancing the overall experience. Some product creators are known to use scents to drive brand loyalty, and the hospitality industry is especially famous for embracing signature blends throughout hotel properties to create the special atmosphere of friendliness and ambiance.
Scent is an underrated multiplier.
A few professional athletes said that using aromas that provoke pleasant memories and positive emotions can give them a much-needed charge to significantly enhance their performance.
This got me thinking…If my sense of smell is so powerful and if I can use it to re-live the past, can I also use it to influence my future?
I decided to follow their lead and to create my own fragrance to use whenever I felt out of luck and out of energy to connect back to my motivation and vision for the brighter future. To run this little experiment I have visited a beautiful, independent perfume lab (ND: Experimental Perfume Club) making custom scents for its clients.
Creating my own bespoke fragrance started with creating a brief to describe images, emotions and thoughts I wanted to capture in a little bottle of concentrated scents. Once I had a story of my vision on a paper, I then could choose the scents that portray it best.
One surprising thing I have learned in the process is that some scents do not smell nice at all on a standalone basis, and these are often used in some of our favourite perfumes. I couldn’t help but marvel at how much this makes sense even in our own personal stories, the good and bad all mixed up, in the end coming together to tell a beautiful story of perseverance and triumph (hopefully).
The experiment was a success. The process of creating the perfume was a powerful mental exercise to visualise my desired final destination. Once it was created, it became my newly found multiplier to use as an ammunition whenever life throws any curve balls my way.
We frequently strive to find that one special fragrance for others to remember us by. I found that one special fragrance to remember my vision and to revive it whenever I need an inspiration.
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