The sense of smell is important in various ways. Being able to smell smoke can warn us of fire and give us the chance to escape. If we smell food is ‘off’ we know it is not safe to eat. Not only can the sense of smell be important to warn us of danger it also brings joy into our life as well as being closely linked to memories. It is an important part of living a full and inspired life.
I love the smell of coffee brewing as I walk past cafes. Sometimes I think the aroma is even better than the taste, not that there's anything wrong with the taste of coffee. One of my favourite activities is catching up with a friend for coffee at a cafe.
Sometimes I can smell my neighbour cooking a curry or other pleasantly strong smelling food. It makes me feel part of a community and safe. The smell also inspires me to experiment with some new recipes.
I love the smell of freshly baked treats. Author's own photo
As well as enjoying the creative side of baking, I love the smell of bread, scones or biscuits baking. It makes the house feel like a real home. This is probably why real estate agents recommend brewing some coffee or baking something so these aromas fill your house when you are trying to sell it.
The smell of the ocean inspires me. I have written numerous poems about the beach. As a child we would occasionally spend a day at the beach as a treat. How excited my sister and I were when we could smell the sea. As an added treat we sometimes had fish and chips for tea. There’s nothing like the smell of fish and chips at the beach when you are really hungry.
The river also has a smell I like. I have always had a love affair with creeks and rivers, stemming from childhood memories of wandering along the banks with my cousins and friends. There is a damp, dank smell of wet rich soil and rotting leaves that I find invigorating.
It is uplifting to smell a freshly mown lawn or wheat that has just been harvested out in the country. Research shows the release of aromatic compounds when grass is cut soothes anxiety and make you feel calmer.
Some flowers have a beautiful fragrance. My favourites include lavender, roses, violets and jasmine. The foliage of scented geraniums and pelargoniums, mint and anything with a lemon scent make me happy. I often rub the leaf of a fragrant plant between my fingers and inhale when I am in the garden.
The scent of lemons is invigorating. Author's own photo
I choose my body wash carefully, taking into account the fragrance. Sometimes I have two or three bottles of body wash on the go. I choose one to use depending on my mood at the time. I find lime, orange or lemon energising and lavender relaxing. A lot of research has been done concerning the effect of different fragrances and the ‘science’ of aromatherapy has evolved.
Sometimes I light a scented candle. My favourite fragrances for candles are green apple, vanilla and strawberry. I have gone through phases of having other favourites.
Something I have noticed in more recent years is the variety of aromas wafting out from restaurants and I love it. For starters there are many more eating places than, say forty or fifty years ago. A wider range of foods is available now, influenced by immigrants from Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
The sense of smell is so important to me as part of the rich and exciting adventure of life. I agree with the words of Josie Maran, American actress, model and cosmetic entrepreneur , ‘There's so much to appreciate about my life every single day, and I make a big point of taking time to smell the roses and noticing how lucky I am. I never want to take that for granted.’