We may not always be privy to it, but smell is a huge component to our emotional selves. Scent has the ability to alter our emotions within an instant.
Consider this, you’re walking down the street and happen to pass a bakery,
The pleasant smells associated with all those delicious baked goods can instantly put a smile on your face. They can trigger thoughts, experiences, and inspire emotions of curiosity. Such smells can instantly bring us into places of happiness, joy, and exuberance.
Likewise, consider walking past a dump or industrial refinery. Somewhere that has a strong, pungent, and repulsive smells.
Unless you like the smell of shit, such smells can typically put us off, or nauseate us. They can bring on negative responses, trigger avoidant behaviour, or anxious thinking in simply trying to rid your nose of such foul scents– “GET ME THE HELL OUT OF HERE!”
It is unquestionable that our sense of smell is just that– A SENSE. And these senses tie into SENSING our emotions– another gauge to determine our experience.
I used to wear cologne often in my teens and early 20’s. I was particular to what I would wear, and though some smells would make me overly nauseous, I continued their use because they still smelled “good”. I can remember wearing fragrances that were initially tolerable, but amplified my own nausea as I began to go about my day.
In recent years, I was introduced to essential oils as a means of developing stronger connections between my conscious mind and my emotional self. As I began experimenting with different scents, I started bridging experiences between certain smells and how they influenced my emotional state. In this, I made some drawing observances between colognes of the past, and how they could have influenced my emotional self because of the onsetting nausea.
A STINKING experiment:
Imagine your first impression in meeting someone new. In terms of emotional likeability, what do you think your experience of them would be:
- If they were wearing repulsive perfume/cologne?
- How would your first impression differ if they were wearing a very pleasant scent?
- What if they had a very neutral scent?
Wether we like it or not, we tend to attach labels to smells. We make positive associations, or negative ones that gives shape to our experiences.
Think about that as you prepare for your next job interview, or your next date, or the next time you notice that usual 10ft buffer around you in public…
Back on point here
As I began experimenting with essential oils, I found a few personal favourites that I use for my own personal use, and emotional practice.
Here is my experience with 5 personally invigorating smells:
Strength and Grounding
My favourite smell on this list is one that I am relatively new with, but my first exposure to this smell captivated my emotions instantly– A good sign to invest my time into using it.
This smell had me at hello, it grabbed my big ass nose by the nostrils and hooked on good:
It was a great emotional pick me up. The smell of cedarwood brought me into the outdoors, it surged memories, and fantastical experiences of escape, of nature, of raw beauty and emotion. I felt completely rooted to the forest and nature, all while standing in the store clutching the tiny black bottle to my face.
Since my first experience with cedarwood oil, I have used it for emotional empowerment and strength. As a natural introvert, I have used this oil by rubbing a bit on the tip of my nose, or on the whiskers of my mustache prior to any experience that would place me in an extroverted role.
I have used cedarwood prior to:
- Conducting a personal training seminar that called for a lot of public speaking/physical instruction.
- When meeting someone new for the first time, both business and personal.
Cedarwood oil has the capability of placing my emotions inside the forest, it tunes me with nature and affirms the present environment. It emotionally grounds me inside myself regardless of where I am. I have also learned to attach this smell to my inner warrior, as i helps me foster that “GO OUT AND GET IT!” attitude.
Another scent on this list that is very popular and powerful is:
My personal experience with peppermint is a means of stress reduction. Beyond the oil itself, peppermint is a natural digestive. A good PEPPERMINT TEA can facilitate healthy digestion by relaxing the gut.
I recall a very stressful and chronic time in my life where my body was physically responding to my emotional stress. I was constantly bloated and anything I ate would ruin my insides. At the time I felt that I couldn’t tolerate eating anything at all, and I began to severely question my gut health. Perhaps I had leaky gut, or IBS, or Crohn’s, or celiac, or some other autoimmune deficiency.
After a year and a few tests later showing that I was completely “healthy”, I started to recognize how my emotional and physical state influenced my digestive capabilities.
The heavy stress that came with:
- Financial worries
- A drastic change of schedule from changing occupations
- Constant stress from a difficult emotional relationship
- Lack of sleep
- A highly unorganized eating regiment and fluctuating diets
- Ongoing and demanding physical training
These factors sent my body, mind, and soul into overload.
As obvious as it is to see it now, my digestive issues were the result of stress. And in recognizing your own stress, you will also recognize the muscular tension that balls up in the pit of your stomach.
Now, I am not going to sit here and tell you that I took a bunch of peppermint tea and started smelling peppermint oils that resulted in an immediate cure from my ailments– because that’s not what happened. It was a slow and arduous process to come away from those lifestyle patterns. But when I found better structure in my lifestyle and diet, peppermint tea became a staple in stimulating a healthier digestive process.
In surpassing these harder times, PEPPERMINT OIL has similar qualities. Perhaps it is my own observance, but I have learned to associate the smell of peppermint to a relaxed stomach. Through the scent of its extracted oil, my mind brings awareness into any extra tension dwelling the pit of my stomach–initiating the cue to relax.
Heck, even in writing this sentence, it triggers a response to breathe deep into my belly as a means of relaxing any muscular tension residing in my gut.
This oil is one that I use during periods of unfocused focus… That means using it during passive activities that aren’t necessarily passive.
Still doesn’t make sense? I know, it’s hard to explain– but I’ll be direct in just sharing my experience openly.
I use this oil in my car when driving for pleasure, or if I find myself on a long enjoyable drive in general. These drives are usually more meditative, without the intention of being meditative… Do you feel me now?
Lavender oil is a good subliminal accompaniment in my life when I am required to maintain focus on something, while that focus isn’t overly intensive– it is rather, a slight effort.
Beyond its soothing qualities, I find it a good scent that responds well with an open mind. I feel that it is an oil that builds on individual emotional reception– meaning that you would be more inclined and open to experience(s).
In that, I find the lavender scent facilitates a good FLOW with whatever it is you’re doing. And like oiling a rusty chain, it helps track just a little bit smoother.
Another example would be the harmonious relationship with the unfocused focused creative endeavours like:
- Creating art
- Playing music
- Even active meditations.
I have used this oil through a diffuser, either at home or in my jeep with one of these— Just don’t keep it plugged in when you’re not using it as I ended up overloading it because it was constantly heating up the dry infuser pads it came with for about a month. I am also curious to how well this one would work as a vent clip
This smell is personally empowering for its sense of PELVIC STRENGTH. I am not saying that it is an aphrodisiac, but I wouldn’t say that it isn’t an aphrodisiac either– It has been linked with such associations in the past.
My experience with patchouli oil is predominantly topical.
- I run my hands under cool water and proceed to give them a very passive wipe.
- As my hands are still wet, I place a few drops of patchouli oil and loosely rub my palms together.
- Lastly, I rub my palms on my around my neck, torso, and limbs infusing this smell onto my body.
- This process has completely replaced all cologne for me, and I don’t wear anything else.
I go through this topical process before going out to pleasurable social events, out on the town, or for romantic purposes.
I’ve learned to associate it as a natural pheromone— One that cultivates a strong sexual energy within the body... Don’t get overly excited, I’m not saying that it makes one horny… I am saying it cultivates the representation of what sexual energy is: a raw and unrefined aggression that can be channeled into a strong confidence. This is a useful characteristic when you need to put yourself out there.
If confidence is king, then patchouli is queen… Huh– wait, what? — Nevermind!
Easing into sleep
This oil is a fun one to experiment with. It builds on mysterious, explorative, and fantastical qualities. It is a great source of inspiration, and imagination.
My personal experience with this oil is solely for easing into a slumber. I have used it topically like I use patchouli oil. as well as how I use cedarwood oil. I have also used it through a diffuser at my bedside, as I often do with lavender oil.
Alternatively, I have rubbed it into my pillows, my ears, nape, nose, and throat. I have also rubbed it into the center of my forehead– the reason being to stimulate the pineal gland– what is cranially believed to be your third eye.
Now it could be the oil, or it could be my intentions, or it could be an even combination of the two, but, I have used this oil as:
- A means to relax into my sleep
- As a means of connecting more vividly into my dreams.
In using frankincense for this purpose, I have had some powerful dreams, and experienced some interesting visuals from the deep of my subconscious mind.
The meaning of my dreams is up to open interpretation– perhaps a topic for another post. Regardless, frankincense is pleasant purely for scent, and a great oil to relax into the night.
I have used this oil for late night stretching sessions, and blissful meditations to beautiful acoustic melodies.
This YOGA Oil is brand specific — I think — but it is really just an assorted blend of oils. The three main oils extracted from:
I have nothing overly profound to say about Yoga Oil outside of just loving it. It smells mystical to me, and visually speaking, it smells how it looks– as it smokes and trickles its way out of the diffuser.
Well, there you have it!
There is a look into some essential oils and how I use(d) them as a means of personal empowerment, or emotional betterment within my own life. These smells are also specific to me, as they can cultivate a completely different experience with someone else
Regardless, they may be worth the experiment.
What oils or smells have you linked with reinforcing emotions in your life?
Self Help Journaling (pdf/mp3)
Make It Stick, Write It Down. A Journaled Philosophy. Ebook/Audiobook