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Does scent give you "Feels"?

Missy Clay

Have you ever noticed when you walk through the mall or into a bake shop you feel a certain way? The scent of your mothers perfume or fresh baked cinnamon rolls can ground and calm. Even if it has been years, smell can take you back to a moment in time.

The association of fragrance and emotion is not an invention. Our olfactory receptors are directly connected to the limbic system, which is thought to be the center of emotion. Smell sensations are relayed to the cortex, where ‘cognitive’ recognition occurs, only after the deepest parts of our brains have been stimulated. By the time we correctly name a particular scent as, for example, ‘lemon’ , the scent has already activated the limbic system, triggering our emotional response.

My family visited a pumpkin farm this fall. As we made our way out to the tractor for the hayride, we walked through the petting zoo.  Immediately I was taken back to my childhood home. The smell of fresh cut hay, dirt and the rain that still lingered in the air. Pure joy, for me, it was pure joy! At that moment, I realized that the scent gave me the "feels". I felt calm, I felt connected and I felt joy.

I am thankful for those feels!  Would love to hear about yours!


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