Sarah and her cousin on her grandparents farm in New Zealand, spot the lemon tree in the background?
Smell is a powerful tool for connecting with memories.
Just recently, I’ve been house sitting on a rural property. In the garden was the most stunning lemon tree, absolutely heaving with the most juicy ripe lemons you could imagine. This tree transported me to a time in my childhood with my grandparents in New Zealand. They also had a lemon tree that was constantly covered in the coveted fruit, little Sarah was obsessed with it. I feasted on lemon muffins, lemon slice & drizzle cake with my Grannie Annie. I remember my grandparents sitting down after a long day of working on the farm to enjoy a gin & lemonade with freshly squeezed lemon. Even though decades have passed, the farm has been sold & I now live in Australia, smelling those lemons, I could see and feel those moments vividly, it was a visceral response that brought me a lot of comfort.
The science of smell & memory
Why is it that smells trigger such vivid memories? It has to do with the brains “smell centre” called the Olfactory bulb, which is directly connected to the amygdala & the hippocampus. The Amygdala is the most important part of the brain when it comes to things like memory, decision making & emotional responses. The hippocampus helps us to form and store new memories. This close proximity of these functions means processing smells and making memories go hand-in-hand, and when forged together, they will be connected in your brain forevermore.
Among the Gum Trees is our most nostalgic scent. Buy now
Using scent for nostalgia happiness hacks
Still with us? Ok great! Let us share how you can transform this science into happiness hacks… If you have an intense positive memory from your past, try to think of foods, plants & perfumes that may have been around at the time, seek those out and see if you can recreate those scentscapes. You can instantly access that core memory by producing that smell or taste for yourself. It’s that easy! Maybe it’s the rich aroma of baking bread from a trip to a French countryside town? Or gum trees & salty sea-spray from a summer coastal adventure? Perhaps a hot apricot straight from the tree of an old neighbours garden?
Forge new happy memories with scent
Why not try playing this powerful skill forward by including scent in your plans for important events in your life? We’ve personally used this tool for weddings, birthdays and travel. You might recognise the scent we designed for my wedding, Mandarin & Sandalwood, from our core range. This one takes me back to a hot & gloriously happy day in our parents backyard, surrounded by nearest & dearest, and cutting some serious moves. You could also save your next perfume purchase for the next time you travel, wear it each day of your holiday and it will become the best memento from your time away for many years to come. We can imagine this being put to good use for proposals, gallery openings, graduations, memorial services, christmas celebrations… the list is endless.
Happy hot days with the scent of Mandarin & Sandalwood. Photo by Lauren Campbell.
Scent is definitely no cure-all, but it can be used as a powerful tool to brighten your day, and we’re big believers in using all the tools in our belts to make life that little bit more memorable.
We’d love to know what nostalgic scents you have in your life and if you can recreate them, let us know in the comments below! As for me, I’ll be making a big batch of lemon muffins after work.