Walking into a bakery instantly brings me back to my childhood and the memory of visiting Pilon’s bakery in Vankleek Hill. The smell of the ocean reminds me of Long Sands Beach in York, Maine; my mother instructing us to roll down our windows so as to smell “that fresh, ocean air.” Stick my nose in a hard cover book and I am roaming between the shelves of our small town library. The smell of coffee in the morning I associate with the start of a new day.
Unfortunately, for anyone who has suffered trauma, smells can also produce an instant and visceral reaction that can trigger their fear response; bringing them back instantly by way of flashback to the experience. It is important when this happens to take some deep breaths; reminding yourself that it is a flashback, that you are safe, and that you are in control of your surroundings.
Though often underestimated by way of our senses, smell plays an important role in our psychological system; instantly warning us of potential danger or bringing us back to a memory that nurtures our comfort system. Smell is our only sense with links directly to the parts of our brain that are responsible for emotion and memory; explaining how a smell can trigger an instant reaction.
As you have read this post, you most likely thought of your own favourite smells associated with memories. Please feel free to share in the comments section 🙂
Photo credit: http://Photo by Miti on Unsplash
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