Scent is a POWERFUL passive self care tool.
Scent can help you lose body fat, lower BP, reduce tension, anxiety, improve sleep, mood-many Wellness, and Health goals. Here’s how it works!
-even prompt you to take action.
YES! Your amazing body has a mechanism to use scent as a way to help you:
It’s true! There’s no NON-SCENTS in that statement!
I just couldn’t resist 😂😂
Adding SCENT to your arsenal of SIMPLE SELF CARE TOOLS is easy and effective.
“…fragrances directly and/or indirectly affect the psychological
and physiological conditions of humans.” (1)
SCENT is another passive SIMPLE Self Care tool we can add to our lifestyle.
Passive because the only effort needed is having your choice of scent within your nose’s reach.
Astonishingly SIMPLE for the payoff you’ll receive!
I think most of us can easily relate to how a scent can transport us to a different place and time.
How a whiff of something can remind us of our grandmother’s house, school years, friends, families, different geographical places we visited.
Or how the smell of smoke can alarm us — set off our stress response so we can get out of danger.
We know SCENT impacts us and can spur us into action immediately.
“…fragrances directly and/or indirectly affect the psychological and physiological conditions of humans.”
We want to leverage the positive impact scent can have on us.
Our sense of SMELL is waaaay under-utilized when it comes to our Self Care so let’s dive into-
Here’s how your body is set up to use scent.
Your sense of smell, like your other body mechanisms, is there to keep you alive.
Just like sound scents have a direct connection to your brain.
Scents are able to support amping up or downshifting your Stress Loop as well as stimulating your Relaxation Loop.
This depends on what the SCENT you are smelling means to you.
Other factors that can anchor or provoke a physiological and psychological reaction can include:
Scent is able to trigger your Stress Loop or Relaxation Loop by way of this nerve.
“Responsive neurons are located in the periglomerular layer of the olfactory bulb.
These results suggest the existence of a vagus nerve-olfactory bulb pathway.” (3)(4)
Your vagus nerve. In this picture the white arrow shows how the vagus nerve reaches throughout our body and impact our body’s biggest health and wellness influencer the HPA Axis. (Seen with the circles and stars)
Scent reaches your vagus nerve when you inhale through your nose bringing oxygen into your body.
Inhale Scent→Olfactory bulb →Vagus Nerve
The air you breathe in passes by your Olfactory Nerves transmitting nerve impulses of odors from the air you inhale to your olfactory bulb.
The olfactory bulb has a direct pathway to your vagus nerve.
Your vagus nerve has super quick access to your organs.
The olfactory bulb “sends information to the other areas of your body. The odors taking a direct route to regions of the brain related to emotion and memory”. (5)bold and color added
Using Scent gives you minimally 2 payoffs.
The 1st– the Immediate messaging to your organs and immediate emotional response
The 2nd which shouldn’t be overlooked or underestimated: the memory mechanism.
Your central nervous system responds to pleasant smells with a positive mood boost. In other cases ‘scent messaging’ may protect us by letting us know something is wrong– Sour milk? Something burning?)
How cool is that! Scent can calm us and protect us.
What an amazing body mechanism!
The air you breathe in continues down to your lungs moving through tubes that look like tree branches getting smaller and smaller until it reaches a bulb-like sac where the oxygen is able to move into your bloodstream so it can get to your cells.
Over time, consistent use of your chosen SCENT can create a stronger and stronger positive connection and this can result in making that scent a resource that helps reduce your excess stress loop very quickly.
Think how handy such a simple tool like scent can be.
Have a rough day use your scent on the way home,
In an emergency –where you need calm- presence focus, use your scent,
Being tested by others or your children regroup; level off your mood by using your chosen scent….
Scent will help reduce your inflammation.
Ultimately your scent will help reduce your inflammation this is because you’ll be better and better at short-circuiting the typical scenario of having too much stress hormone sticking around for too long.
The exponential payoff reducing your excess stress hormone cuts down the wear and tear on your body.
The more you rid yourself of unnecessary wear and tear on your body the better off your body will be.
How cool is that! Another amazing body mechanism you can influence!
A mechanism we don’t need to think about and rarely do until that mechanism is impaired. Like Asthma, COPD, respiratory issues…. a damaged airway is scary.
Protecting yourself, your family, your home by choosing scents wisely.
This brings me to the part about how important it is to choose our scents wisely.
If we follow the mechanism of how a scent gets in a bit further it’ll help you understand my request of why I would like you to be choosey when it comes to your scent choices.
You see the air you breathe in continues
All your cells.
Breathing scents in through our nose is nothing short of amazing but the filtering mechanism can be less than optimal.
The little hairs in our nose, are to help us filter some larger molecules out they just aren’t great for filtering all we breathe in these days.
Avoid scents that damage nasal and lung tissues.
Liking a scent isn’t all the criteria we should pay attention to especially if we intend to use it often.
If a scent is damaging to our nasal tissues, and beyond as in damaging to our lungs…then it is a scent we should avoid. I’ve created a post on SCENTED candles Are Candles Bad for You, Your Family, Your Home? because although they can emit wonderful smells they can be damaging.
One way scents positively impact us is by supporting our body’s Biggest influencer the 3 Organs: Your Hypothalamus, Pituitary & Adrenal glands, which is why we are focus on them first in52 Weeks ☀️ of Self Care with mo.
You can choose smells that reduce your body’s stress hormones.
If we think of our stress hormones being toggled up and down like a dimmer switch toggles a light up and down we can choose scents to help us go in the direction we would like.
When we want to feel those times we want more energy, focus, we can use scents that invigorate us.
Then for times we know we will be too amped up, stressed, we can use scents that calm us.
Over time incorporating Scent into our self care lifestyle will help us balance our stress hormone regulation.
Knowing you can influence moving ‘your body’s dimmer switch’ upward and/or downward to titer the amount of hormone pumped into your bloodstream is empowering.
Envisioning your stress hormone this way can make your self-care simpler in many ways.
You can move through your day focused on two questions.
1- Is what I am doing now:
– instructing my body to put out more stress hormone or
– less stress hormone and
2- Which scent will help support my body in the direction I would like it to go?.
Scent is one of the external influencers you can use to adapt that dimmer in the direction best for you.
Last time in Wake Up Happy I shared with you how your stress hormones do more than set you up for fight, flight or freeze.
They also determine your
Over the past weeks in 52 Weeks ☀️ of Self Care with mo we’ve put in place 6 fabulously simple self-care techniques all supporting the optimization of your body’s stress hormone— SCENT now being one of them.
This is our end goal when it comes to the First Biggest Influencer: 3 Organs Section.
Adding Scent today builds on the previous positive influencers you are using, takes no additional time, and is another of our body’s amazing internal mechanisms that we can influence externally.
“…fragrances directly and/or indirectly affect the psychological and physiological conditions of humans.” 1
“low concentration odors affect central nervous system (CNS) activity even when undetected” 3
“ individuals who frequently experienced ambient air pollution — especially by way of fine particles — also seemed to have lower bone mass levels.
… the link between poor air quality and poor bone health could be due to “the oxidative stress and inflammation caused by air pollution.”
Now showing it how it works:
“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”
“The olfactory signals very quickly get to the limbic system” which’s the part of the brain that supports a variety of functions including emotion, behavior, long-term memory, and smell
“…fragrances directly and/or indirectly affect the psychological and physiological conditions of humans.”
“The sense of smell plays an important role in the physiological effects of mood, stress, and working capacity”
“both physical and mental states became more stable and relaxed after inhalation of essential oil in the experimental group compared to the control group”
“Studies in laboratory animals and humans have demonstrated that inhalation of essential oils can produce antidepressant and anxiolytic effects exposed to stress by modulating the central nervous system”
“Lavender oil inhalation is also effective in reducing stress-related symptoms in nurses”
3- The Science behind how your sense of smell works with your brain so you can feel confident today’s focused action works.
🎯 Today let’s choose 2 Scents. One we know lifts our mood the other a scent that we know calms us. It’s so cool and at the same time mind-boggling how much is going on in our body that we don’t ever think about —
All of us can immediately layer using SCENT into our day.
For those of you in the 52 Weeks ☀️ of Self Care with mo learning how our sense of smell supports your 3 Organs means adding SCENT to .your AM Wake Up Happy and PM Calm Relax-Sleep provides exponential benefit!
Sowndhararajan, Kandhasamy, and Songmun Kim. “Influence of Fragrances on Human Psychophysiological Activity: With Special Reference to Human Electroencephalographic Response.” Scientia pharmaceutica vol. 84,4 724-751. 29 Nov. 2016, doi:10.3390/scipharm84040724
Effects of Inhalation of Relaxing Essential Oils on Electroencephalogram Activity. International Journal of New Technology and Research (IJNTR) ISSN:2454-4116, Volume-2, Issue-5, May 2016 Pages 37-43
Park, Hyun-Jung et al. “Effect of the fragrance inhalation of essential oil from Asarum heterotropoides on depression-like behaviors in mice.” BMC complementary and alternative medicine vol. 15 43. 6 Mar. 2015, doi:10.1186/s12906-015-0571-1
Otavio Ranzani (2020) How Does the Air We Breathe Affect Us? Environmental Health. https://www.isglobal.org/en/healthisglobal/-/custom-blog-portlet/com-ens-afecta-l-aire-que-respirem-/6113748/0
Colleen Walsh (2020) ‘What the nose knows” https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2020/02/how-scent-emotion-and-memory-are-intertwined-and-exploited/#:~:text=Smells%20are%20handled%20by%20the,
University of Toronto. “Scientists uncover new connection between smell and memory: Findings offer opportunities for improved smell tests in Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 July 2018.
Ahn JH, Kim KH, Kim YH, Kim BW. Characterization of hazardous and odorous volatiles emitted from scented candles before lighting and when lit. J Hazard Mater. 2015 Apr 9;286:242-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2014.12.040. Epub 2014 Dec 31. PMID: 25588193.