Did you feel it last week? It was fleeting, but for a few days it smelled, looked and almost felt like Spring! The sun was shining, the snow was melting and the air felt balmy after the last artic, snowy few weeks. What a difference some sun and a springtime smell can make on our overall mood and energy!
What made an impact for me was actually paying attention to how everything felt. The sun on my face, the warm breeze wafting smells of melting snow and damp earth, and the literal weight off my shoulders when wearing a lighter coat was a welcome respite in February.
Paying attention to our senses can make a difference not only in our mood but also our memory. Considering most of what we experience via our five senses of taste, smell, touch, vision, and hearing is not remembered, focusing on our sensory input can be a productive avenue to assist our memory. Simply increasing our attention to our senses allows us a wealth of information to assist our memory.
When discussing memory techniques, it’s always the technique of paying attention that seems so simple, yet can have the greatest impact. If we simply pay more acute attention to all our sensory experiences, we can associate, visualize and connect more information in our memory. Then later, we can call upon these sensory associations to assist us to remember.
More and more research is connecting the dots between smell and memory. Our smells are closely connected with the hippocampus and limbic system of the brain which also has an important role in memory production and retrieval. Smells trigger memories faster than any other sense because of this connection. This occurs often, whether we are aware of it or not. We smell something familiar and suddenly are transported to a place or memory, even feeling the same emotions of that moment.
One additional developing area of interest in relation to our senses, well being and memory are essential oils. Many of these oils are found to have a positive impact on memory. They include peppermint, rosemary, frankincense, grapefruit, and sandalwood. The oils are used sparingly on the skin, ingested or inhaled and can produce changes in mood, health, and yes, even memory.
Our senses clearly have an impact on our world and our memory. See how you can tune in to your senses this week and even stop to smell the roses (literally)! Create the habit of paying increased attention to all your sensory experiences and watch not only your mood but maybe even your memory improve!