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The Power of Scent

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“Smells, I think, may be the last thing on earth to die.”
― Fern Schumer Chapman, Motherland: Beyond the Holocaust: A Mother-Daughter Journey to Reclaim the Past

“My nose remembers more than my eyes. The sharp oily smell of eucalyptus combines with afternoon dust from the hockey field. But my heart feels the different then and now.”
― Phyllis Theroux, The Journal Keeper: A Memoir

I’m fascinated with scents. How they make us feel, how they make us remember, and how they affect us in general. The power of fragrance really got stuck in head a few months ago when I opened a new stick of Dove’s cucumber & green tea deodorant, and all of a sudden I was flooded, smacked in the face, with the memories and emotions of my time in Arizona. I have no conscious memory of using this particular scent while living there, and I’m sure I only bought it again because it was a two for one sale, but immediately I could remember the light fixtures in my bathroom there, the wood-like smell in my small room, the drive on the dirt road that lead to the ranch, and the sound of the wind coming over the mountains. I also had a flash feeling how heavy and drained I felt when I first arrived at the ranch, and an instant later I remembered how I felt lighter, freer and happier by the end.

All of this from a quick whiff of deodorant. Random, right?

After doing some research, apparently it’s not so random (although the fact that deodorant triggered all of this is odd). Your sense of smell is directly linked to the limbic system in your brain, and this happens to be where all of your memories and emotions are stored. As the International Fragrance Association puts it, “Basically, fragrance is emotional.” (Click here to read all you’d ever want to know about the science of smell: http://www.ifraorg.org/)

Scent has the power to relieve stress, elevate your mood, alert you of danger, and it plays a large role in human sexuality.

What I find extremely interesting is what fragrances people are drawn to and why, and also how those preferences change from year to year and even season to season. If I had enough money, I would be a total product whore – body washes, perfumes, lotions, serums, makeup, you name it. I love it. There’s something about a splash of perfume that can instantly transform your mood and how you present yourself: sexy, seductive, playful, flirty, calm, organic, earthy, or free.

scent1This spring I have been drawn to scents that are calming, fresh, a little sultry and a little spicy. First, I am obsessed with Johnson’s Melt Away Stress Daily Calming Lotion. I usually stay away from scented lotions, but I instantly fell in love with this chamomile, lavender and moonflower scent that I couldn’t not own it and use it all of the time. It puts me in a serious happy/calm coma, and I will be devastated if they ever discontinue this line.

scent2Next, I received Ultraviolet Woman perfume by Paco Rabanne as a gift from the lovely Renee, which was a bold move (that definitely paid off) since you really have to know someone to buy them great perfume (she nailed it). This fragrance has notes of chili pepper, blackberry, jasmine, apricot, vanilla, amber and a hint of musk. These scents combined make for a very fresh, feminine and flirty perfume that I wear daily.

scent3

 

Finally, the body wash. I walked into The Body Shop and immediately asked what that awesome smell was in the air. I bought their biggest bottle of White Musk, a velvety wash with notes of jasmine, rose, musk, lily, patchouli, oakmoss and vanilla. It’s so light and clean that it makes waking up early for work every morning not so bad.

 

All three of these products happen to come in purple/violet containers, my favorite color. Curious as to why I’m so drawn not only to these scents but to their colors as well at the moment, I read this:

“Violet is a combination of blue and red. Red is a focusing, dynamic and active energy while blue is cooling, calming and expansive. Violet brings a new dynamic to the expansion of blue and the activity of red. Red brings practicality to the undirected expansiveness of the blue, and allows more creative energy to emerge. For this reason, violet is associated with imagination and inspiration.” (Found on http://crystal-cure.com/purple.html).

This makes total sense as I’ve been feeling more creative and purpose driven over these past few weeks.

What scents are you surrounding yourself with lately? How do you feel when it’s on your skin? As spring time is rolling through (although in some parts of the world it feels like spring has yet to arrive), you should definitely take this opportunity to upgrade your fragrances and get out of the winter funk!

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Author:

I have circumnavigated the globe, I have lived overseas, and now I'm back in America about to marry my beautiful fiance, Renee. Follow our adventures in travel, getting healthier with Plexus and starting a brand new life.

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