Posted on / JournalSelf Care

Scent and Memory


In my not-so-long-ago schooldays, I was given a helpful piece of information by a substitute teacher. To her, it was just a conversation in which she offered some advice for studying that she learnt from her teacher. To me, it was one of those moments where you stop and go ‘wow’. Since hearing it, I’ve told anyone going through exams.

Wear perfume while you study, and then wear the same perfume on the day of your exam. Scent is one of our most powerful senses when it comes to memory and should be utilised much more.

I often use the perfume hack, but whilst I was studying I would light white sage incense on my desk. Just the other day I found that same incense and was taken back to almost two years ago. I vividly remembered my desk, my maths book and even some of its content.

In our noses, the olfactory bulb processes scents and connects them directly to the amygdala and hippocampus, which are strongly connected to our emotion and memory. That’s why smells can not only make you recall a memory, but the feelings attached to it as well.

I’d love to hear some smells you associate with specific memories. The smell of sausages cooking might remind you of Sunday family barbeques or a specific perfume might remind you of an old friend. Whatever the scent, share in the comments.

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