What is emotional intelligence and how is emotional intelligence linked to scent?
So what has all of this got to do with scent?
The human nose can distinguish among at least 1 trillion different scents!
And, while our sense of smell can get overshadowed by the other four senses, make no mistake; It is formidable! For humans, scent and survival are inextricably linked.
Scientists are still delving into how particular scent molecules affect our brains. What we do know is that once a scent binds to the olfactory receptors in our nasal epithelium (a part of our nose), there’s an electrical signal that’s delivered directly to the brain’s limbic system, an area associated with emotion & memory, which sets off a cascade of bio-chemical & neurologic consequences.
Why is this link between our brains and scent so interesting?
We can leverage smells to evoke desired emotions or responses. For example, to recall a loved one, to increase positive emotions, decrease negative emotions, trigger a relaxation response or strengthen the immune system.
Discovering how smells influence our moods and emotions, provides a pathway for us to trigger and activate these moods and therefore influence how we think (cognition) and how we act (behaviour). In terms of cognition, mood has been shown to influence creativity with the typical finding that people in a positive mood exhibit higher levels of creativity than individuals in a bad mood. In research, when people were exposed to an smells they liked, creative problem solving was better than it was when they were exposed to an unpleasant odour.
So there you have it. Different smells and fragrances can influence our mood based on the links between these scents and our memories & emotions associated with these sensations. This can affect our daily lives, work performance and many other forms of behaviour via learned associations and particularly via learned emotional associations. So, the next time you smell a scent that you like, see if you can figure out where you first experienced it and then take a mindful moment to reflect on whether the scent makes you feel a certain way, or whether you experience any mood change. If yes, try and figure out if that mood makes you want to do anything in particular. We’d love to hear how you get on.