It is a well known fact that our sense of smell is processed in a deep-seated part of our brains, the limbic system, a place that also processes our memories and emotion.
Given the close connection of odours and memories it is therefore unsurprising that a whole range of smells from the good to the bad to the ugly (who is to judge anyway) can elicit a broad spectrum of emotions.
Smells are known to jog memories and nostalgia and it is these deep associated sensory memories that jog our emotional state.
According to psychologist Dr Elena Touroni:
‘The smell itself doesn’t have to be particularly pleasant in order to provoke a positive memory. It’s very common and we purposefully use it as a psychological strategy in therapy – especially for those who have experienced trauma or have emotional difficulties, for example,’ she adds. It’s more about the association, rather than enjoyment of the thing itself.’
What odd smells bring comfort to you?