The human olfactory sense, or sense of smell, is the most closely linked to memory out of the five senses. If you’ve ever visited your former school, cooked an old family recipe, or returned home after a long time away, you have probably experienced the power of smell.
Whether you realize it or not, your body is constantly detecting odors, good and bad. Humans’ sense of smell is different from the other senses in that stimulants, or aromas, bypass the thalamus and move directly to the hippocampus and the amygdala, which are responsible for memory and emotions respectively.
Because this is a continuous process and so closely linked with memory and emotion, your brain stores smells associated with time and place in your long-term memory. If you were to visit your elementary school cafeteria, just the smell of it could bring back memories you didn’t know existed.
Therefore, it’s easy to see how various scents could affect our emotional, physical, and mental state. What if you could boost your efficiency in the workplace with a simple smell? Good news — you can! Aromatherapy can help you and your employees problem solve, improve performance, pay attention longer, and even recharge.
The scent of various herbs, fruits, and spices have proven to help with alertness, memory, concentration, reasoning, energy, and stress, among others. The best way to incorporate these aromas into your home or office is through oil, spray, a brew (like tea), or a diffuser.