Why Does Scent Transport You Back in Time?

Posted by Polina P on
Why Does Scent Transport You Back in Time?

It comes from out of nowhere. Once minute you’re in the store, simply running through your shopping list and then next moment, you’re pulled back into the past, transported to a memory that seemingly has no connection with your current thoughts. Have you ever experienced this strange sensation? Some might refer to it as déjà vu, others simply can’t explain it. The answer might be very simple: scent might be pulling you back to a notable memory.

Images and sounds can easily conjure up old memories, and we don’t think anything of it. Yet, when it is our sense of smell sending signals to our brain, it may be on a more subconscious level. We often don’t even realize that even just a whiff of something identical or similar to a past aroma is taking us back to a significant memory.  However, since scent is the sense most closely linked to memory, it is very important to understand this phenomenon.

What in the World Does Scent Have to Do with Memory?

Scent is closely tied to our brain’s limbic system, an area in the brain that is responsible for controlling our emotions, moods, behaviors, and memories. Thus, scent ties to memories pretty closely.

When we first inhale a scent, it passes through our noses to the olfactory bulb, which then sends it through to our limbic system. If you have a memory associated with the smell you’re inhaling, your brain will most likely pull that memory forward into your conscious perception.

In fact, some people who have full olfactory functioning can be transported back in time by simply thinking about a smell. That’s how powerful our sense of smell is!

Maybe, for instance, you used to have outdoor family picnics throughout your youth. Something as small as the scent of pine trees could trigger memories of these events if your picnics were near pine trees.

Or, perhaps a relative who passed away always ate peppermint candies or baked your favorite apple pie every holiday. Simply smelling the slightest hint of mint or apple pie spice could trigger you to grow sad, quite suddenly. This change in emotion is caused by the link between smell and this person who you miss. Scent works so quickly that many times you don’t even notice why your emotions have shifted or why you’re flipping through old memories.

Conjure Happy Memories through Scent Therapy

Since we know that scent and memory are closely connected, we can surround ourselves with happy, joyous memories through scent therapy. By investing in high quality essential and aroma oils, you can use scents that remind you of happy times to keep your mood elevated.

Give this a try by using one of our cold air diffusers to evenly spread the fragrance throughout your home. See how quickly and easily your mood brightens by indulging in some of the happiest scents of your life.

To get started, check out our full range of aroma oils, here.


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