Introducing: Scentful Storytelling
Our spaces can tell a story about who we are. The stacks of books by the worn out and comforting recliner tell us the space is inhabited by someone thirsty for knowledge, or far-off adventures. The vanity table covered with old photos and heirlooms tell us she lived a full life and yearns for the energy and ability to "go back" for more. Perhaps the garage filled with relics and curios from prior escapades indicate that offbeat uncle isn't as offbeat as we thought.
In addition to our spaces, scents can tell our story. There's no doubt - at least once in your life you've been somewhere and got a whiff of an aroma that took you back to one particular moment from your past. That one scent was enough for you to immediately know who you were with, what you were doing, and how you felt in that moment.
The human body's limbic system is responsible for us being "triggered" by scents. In 2020, The Harvard Gazette wrote a piece that eloquently explains the science behind the link between scents and memories. To sum it up as simply as possible, "Smells are handled by the olfactory bulb, the structure in the front of the brain that sends information to the other areas of the body’s central command for further processing. Odors take a direct route to the limbic system, including the amygdala and the hippocampus, the regions related to emotion and memory."
Scents get "programmed" into our brains and catalogued. If a friend or family member has a perfume or cologne they wear consistently, then naturally over time we will associate that scent specifically to them. We may make jokes about the crayons, paint, glue and other fascinations of our elementary school years, but in recalling those aromas, do you naturally feel uplifted? Do you feel a sense of joy or burst of imagination...the yearning to create perhaps?
That my friends is the magic behind what I get to do and why I love it so much. It's not a hobby for me, it's not "just a business"; it's a passion. A yearning to connect memories, feelings and thoughtful reflections to the scents that they were born from.
Next week we'll explore a bit more of the science behind scents and how, with a new diagnosis in our family, it's becoming much more important to us. We'd love to hear from you - what are your thoughts on scents and memories? Do you feel there's a connection for you personally?