Why Scents Evoke Emotions and Memories - TLC Candle Co.

Why Scents Evoke Emotions and Memories

March 29, 2021

Why Scents Evoke Emotions and Memories

Our brains are constantly working, always looking for connections to make and inferences to suggest. Consistently attempting to solidify neural pathways and make connections to what is happening currently, to past memories stored away. Our brains are powerful, both so are our noses. Your nose is used for more than simply smelling your favorite candle; it is the place our mind uses to make detailed associations about events, people, and feelings, to create our memories and the emotions that come attached with them. Waking up to deeply warm scents of dark roasting coffee beans may inherent feelings of serenity and illicit memories of quiet early mornings. The wafting aroma of freshly baked dough and chocolate chips may bring along with it the care-free happiness of childhood weekends. Opening the door after a long day and being greeted with a sombrous and slow cooking crock-pot meal may bring back nostalgic memories of your mother’s heartfelt cooking. The feeling of beads of water in the air and fresh salty scents of the ocean breeze may remind you of summer vacations. Our brains are detail-oriented and thus, attempt to make every connection they can to every event we encounter and witness. This makes recalling memories and, making inferences about what should be feeling, much easier with the help of our nose.

Not to get technical or pretend we are scientists, but anatomically wise, your sense of smell is literally connected to your emotions and memories. Everything you smell is first picked up by sensory receptors in your nose and processed through the olfactory system. This system only manages your sense of smell. Once smells have been picked up, the olfactory bulb, contained within the olfactory system, bypasses other structures and sends off that scent for further processing within the limbic system of the brain. The limbic system is the inner part of our brain that manages all of the inherent emotions, urges, and desires, that are necessary for survival. Contained within the limbic system are two very important areas that deal directly with your concepts of emotions and memory: the amygdala, which helps process emotions, and the hippocampus, which processes memories. Therefore, every time you open the oven door and the scent of your favorite cookies from childhood fill the room, you smell receptors pick up this scent, the olfactory bulb bypasses other structures such as the thalamus and sends the scent directly to the amygdala and hippocampus within the limbic system so that these structures can make connections about emotions and memories that commonly occur with this scent or even make new associations to this scent. Nevertheless, this is why smells can so vividly bring back emotions and memories; our brain uses our sense of smell as a defining element in making connections between emotions and memories and using scent as a defining element within those memories in helping us recall them later on. Our brains are powerful, but not without the help of our noses!

Our brains and the lengths they will go to make connections and store memories is completely fascinating! Every one of our senses plays an important role in adding details to a stimulus within our brain that will ultimately become a memory. With TLC’s unique attention to detail with every pour of their handmade soy candles, beautifully elegant and powerful scents are created. Every time you grab you wick trimmer and strike a match to one of TLC’s stunning candles, an unforgettable aroma will begin to fill the room and make creating memories, and fostering connections within your brain, extremely simple. Start creating moments with your TLC candles; with every TLC candle you buy attach new emotions and memories to each one so that when you need reminders of calmness, happiness, gratitude, or anything else, your moment of “me time”, and TLC candle, will be able to help ground you into those emotions because of the connections you have fostered within your mind. Our minds and our noses are powerful together, use a TLC candle to help enrich that connection on a daily basis.

-Kenzington Baxter, Guest Writer


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