Have you ever walked down the street and come across a scent that instantly transported you back to a particular childhood memory? I know it’s certainly happened to me on numerous occasions. 

The olfactory system, or sense of smell, is the sensory system used for smelling. The limbic system is the part of the brain responsible for our sense of smell, which also happens to be related to feelings and memory. As a result, our sense of smell is 10,000 times more sensitive than any other of our senses. Since senses like touch and taste have to travel through the body via neurons and the spinal cord before reaching the brain, whereas mell response is immediate.

Studies have also shown that cleaning aromas help encourage people to be more honest and fair in their dealings. Specifically, it was found that people who are in a clean scented room, end up being more likely to share their winnings with an anonymous collaborator versus those who were in an unscented room.

So how can we take advantage of this powerful sense organ? 

I first came across the idea of hacking my sense of smell after learning about a salesman who every time he closed a sale would inhale some essential oil scent found in his desk. Then whenever he needed some extra motivation, he would inhale from this scent in order to “anchor” his state to the previous feelings of success after closing a sale.

In a similar way, I now own an essential oil kit that I use in order to manipulate my internal states. For example, anytime I’m in a flow state, I’ll inhale from a peppermint scent. That way in the future whenever I need to bring about that state, I’ll be able to do so. Similarly, right before bed, I’ll use a lavender essential oil diffuser to let my brain know that it’s time for bed.

As with most things, it’s best to try it for yourself to see if it works for you!