The Nose Knows – Boosting Creativity with Smell

“Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived.” —Helen Keller

The smell of rose-scented hand lotion instantly makes me think of my great-grandmother. I close my eyes, inhale deeply, and feel her large, fleshy arms wrapping me in a hug. The feelings and images are very real.

The link between scent and memory is powerful. Smell can produce some of the most vivid memories that we carry. Do you smile in spring the first time you smell fresh-cut grass because you immediately think of warmer, fun-filled days? People have used scents for years to inspire, relax, and motivate. Look at the popularity of aromatherapy and the millions of dollars people spend on scented candles.

The next time you are stuck on a problem, feeling writer’s block, or need a motivational boost, think of a smell that gets you moving – for example, coffee. The smell may help refocus your brain. (I wonder if that is why so many writers congregate in coffee shops. Is it that rich, caffeinated aroma?)

The moods and memories associated with smells can be very personal, but scientific research has found that particular smells also create specific reactions in people. In the article, The Smell Is Right – Using Scents to Enhance Life, by Psychology Today’s Sally Augustine, PhD, she explains that burning frankincense can help alleviate depression, while the smells of oranges can help reduce anxiety.

Per this article, if you want to boost your creativity, use the smell of cinnamon-vanilla to get your mind buzzing with ideas.

We often overlook our nose when we seek motivation, but using scent to stimulate our minds is an easy way to get creative juices flowing.