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Why Do Certain Smells Trigger Memories?

Think about a time when you have smelled something that brings back a memory. It might be a pleasant smell or even a disgusting smell. There’s a reason for this. When you smell something that's connected to a meaningful event in your past, you first have an emotional response to the sensation. It could bring up feelings of happiness or joy. It could also drum up feelings of fear or sadness. Oftentimes following an emotional response will be a memory. Interestingly, smells can bring back memories that might never have otherwise been recalled.


How does this happen? Well, scientists say it’s because of the anatomy of the brain. The sense of smell is more closely linked to memory than any other of our senses. First, scents bypass the thalamus and go straight to the olfactory bulb (the brain’s smell center). The olfactory system is located in the same part of our brain that effects emotions, memory, and creativity. The olfactory bulb is directly connected to the amygdala and hippocampus. And, that part of the brain processes smell, interacts with parts of the brain that are responsible for storing our emotional memories. This is said to be a possible explanation as to why certain smells can immediately trigger a memory or intense emotion.


The sense of smell is more valuable than most people realize. When we taste foods we are actually smelling the flavors. Prove this to yourself by pinching your nostrils and tasting a spoon of ice cream. You’ll notice that even though you are aware of the sweetness, you don’t taste the flavor. 


Scents and aromas are big business. Think about walking past a bakery or BBQ restaurant. Some brands pump the smell of their food out to the street to entice walkers by. Unless you are vegan or vegetarian, the smell of a steak on a grill might draw you in.


Do you lose your sense of smell as you age? Yes, we do tend to lose the sense of smell when we get older. But there’s good news. Your nose is just like any other muscle. The more you use your nose, the better your sense of smell gets.

How does this work? Your sense of smell can be strengthened by sniffing often. For instance, when you walk outdoors, near a factory or through your neighborhood, pay attention to what you smell. Yes, sniffing will strengthen your nose!


The Essence Nose Diffuser allows you the chance to control what you smell each day. Anywhere you go - work, play, or relaxing - use this product to make your experience more enjoyable. The Essence Nose Ring is discrete and portable. Control what you smell in small public areas like a subway, train, bus, or airplane.


Lavender is known for its relaxing properties. The lavender scented ring helps calm nerves in the dentist chair or at the hospital. Have trouble sleeping? It also helps you obtain more restful sleep when used at night.


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