How To Improve Your Meditation With Scent

If you’re feeling stressed lately, chances are you’ve thought about meditating to calm your mind. But when you think about meditation, do you simply think about staring at a flickering flame? Or saying om? Or doing mindful breathing exercises? 

If so, then you’re missing out on a recommended calming meditation – a Sensory Smell Meditation – which includes a relaxing scent. 

Chances are you’ve done a Sensory Scent Meditation to calm yourself—without knowing you were doing one.

For example, maybe you’ve walked into a bakery and inhaled the smell of freshly baked bread. Immediately you felt a sense of inner peace—as well as a sense of “I want a piece!” (Mmmm . . . fresh baked bread!)

Fact: The smell center of our brain is located in “brain real estate” right near the “memory center.”

For this reason, neuroscientists believe that our first memories are not based upon things we saw when we were young—but things we smelled.

So if the smell of baby powder makes you feel more calm and smiley, it might be because it’s triggering happy thoughts and positive memories from your babyhood—when you felt pampered, supported, and fully taken care of.  

Your sense of smell, also known as your “olfactory response,” is directly linked to your brain’s “emotional center”—more so than any of your other senses. As a result, your sense of smell is not only the number one sense most connected to your memories—it is also the number one sense most connected to your emotions.    

Meaning? If you really want to shift your emotions from frazzled to calm, then doing a Sensory Smell Meditation might be one of the most powerful holistic tools available for sending a flood of warm, fuzzy feelings throughout your body—and mind!  

How to choose the right scent for meditation

One of the most effective scents to use for meditation is one that’s probably found in your kitchen cabinet right now: Vanilla!

Many studies report that the smell of Vanilla can boost happiness and decrease stress—including one study by The Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

The Center actually tested the effects of five different fragrances on 85 patients undergoing an MRI scan. Of all the 5 different scents tested, Vanilla was rated the number one most relaxing. In fact, patients exposed to the Vanilla smell reported 63% less anxiety and claustrophobia than those not exposed.

Sloan-Kettering was so impressed by Vanilla’s relaxing benefits, that they now include the smell of Vanilla as a standard part of their MRI scans.

How to Do A Vanilla Sensory Scent Meditation:

  • Get a bottle of Vanilla Essential oil or even a bottle of Vanilla Extract from your kitchen cupboard. 
  • Hold the bottle beneath your nose. 
  • Inhale and exhale for 2 minutes, repeating the following words either silently or out loud. On Inhale: ”I am stronger than my challenges.” On Exhale: ”My challenges are making me stronger.”

So next time you’re feeling stressed, head into the kitchen. But do not grab something to eat to calm yourself. Grab a bottle of vanilla extract to calm yourself. Then take 2 minutes to enjoy a relaxing Vanilla Sensory Smell Meditation.

BIO: This article was written by Karen Salmansohn, a bestselling author on happiness with 2 million books sold.