Scent: the sense that keeps us centered

Did you know that our sense of smell has a very direct and rapid effect on our mood, our emotions, even our bodies? It’s a profoundly powerful memory trigger. Have you ever turned a corner and caught the scent of something and been transported to another place, another set of feelings?

Like passing a bakery, smelling freshly baked bread and suddenly you feel warm and safe like you felt in your grandmother’s kitchen when you were small.

That’s why we can use scents to support ourselves as business owners to:

  • ease anxiety or worry
  • become more present and mindfully aware
  • refocus when our minds are drifting
  • teach our nervous system to respond in a specific way when experiencing a particular scent to help us build new, more self-loving habits

The best part? Incorporating scent into your working day is incredibly simple. All you need to do is…inhale a fragrance.

As you inhale an aroma the odor molecules dance across your olfactory receptors, tiny nerve endings just behind the bridge of your nose. The receptors identify the scent (“Ooohhh chai!”) and nerve cells send this information directly to the brain’s limbic system.

The limbic system is a cluster of functions throughout your brain that control, among other things, memory, mood and stress responses – also known as our “fight or flight” reaction. So, things that catalyze the limbic brain are stimulating responses through other systems like respiratory, circulatory and immune – all places where the physical repercussions of our emotional beliefs show up.

Once a fragrance reaches your limbic system (in less time than it takes to register the pain of a stubbed toe) it triggers memories and begins influencing emotions and behavior.

This is why scent can be such a powerful ally when trying to change emotional and behavioral responses.

During my nearly 30 years teaching and practicing aromatherapy, a few of the inspiring things I’ve seen are:

  • anxious people finding their center
  • overwhelmed people grounding and reconnecting with their own strength
  • unfocused people finding focus and concentration
  • scared people finding confidence

Scents are an essential business tool for me. I use them every day in the form of essential oils, herbal teas, incense, open windows, living plants, cut flowers, candles…

Fragrances catch our attention and invite us back into our pulsing, beating, breathing, hungering, sensual bodies; helping us be who we need to be and do what needs to be done.

Fragrance helped me overcome my public speaking anxiety.

I wanted to believe that I was courageous enough to speak confidently in public. I chose Rosewood essential oil as my ally because its scent made me feel like my heart was smiling, my mind was sharp. I was relaxed and present and I just glowed with joy and warmth.

Each morning for about 3 weeks I visualized myself speaking in front of a large crowd – feeling comfortable, happy, successful – while inhaling the Rosewood scent. The critical voices, doubts and fears that usually nattered at me and destroyed my confidence got lost in the Rosewood forest and eventually receded enough that I confidently, even joyfully, speak in public now.

Highly sensitive. Renaissance soul. Introvert. Intuitive. I’ve come to embrace these qualities in myself, and for over ten years, I’ve worked to help others discover and trust in their own unique gifts. As a career and leadership coach, I help people understand that you don’t have to fit in to belong and make a meaningful contribution. I enjoy continually adding tools to better serve my clients, including my most recent training as a career development facilitator. Whether it’s through individual or group career or leadership coaching, workshops, or inspirational speaking, my goal is to help my clients find the clarity and confidence they need to embrace and live their own particular and irreplaceable genius. You can learn more or drop me a line at TracieNichols.com.

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