MEMORY AND SCENT
Memories are stored in the part of the brain that's responsible for receiving sensory input from our eyes, mouth, nose or skin, ears, and smell. Overstimulation and demands from the day can create negative sensory overload which creates unnecessary anxiety and mental health problems. It's crucial to unplug and relax and start spending more time taking care of your tired, overworked, overstimulated body. Using your five senses is a great way to gain back your peace of mind, rest your soul, and enjoy your body again.
HEALING OUR MIND BODY & SOUL
Did you know that scents can aid in healing our body and mind? You've heard of aromatherapy no doubt? Well, there's good science behind it according to the father of aromatherapy Robert Tisserand, whose work in the field combined medical studies and essential oils showing that anxiety and other disorders are helped and alleviated by smelling certain scents and oils from herbs & flowers. It makes sense. Think about when you get a warm cozy relaxed feeling from smelling your favorite food such as freshly baked pumpkin pie. It triggers some of our most fond warm memories of the holidays when we and our loved ones spent precious moments together. We feel pleasure, joy, calm, and safe all at once. What a great experience! No wonder we all love the holidays so much. We gain an altered state of mind simply by smelling our experience and filing it away in our brain for recall later. Pleasure created, stress alleviated. Mind at rest. A happy mind is a healthy mind.
HIT THOSE PLEASURE CENTERS!
Interestingly studies have been shown that out of all of the smells thought to invoke pleasure; it was the pumpkin pie spice scent that proved to be an aphrodisiac for men! So, when they say "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach," they may be right, and we can also add that it's likely also through his nose! When we hit the pleasure centers using our five senses, it affects our well being and mood- for the good of all. We all love scents including women of course! It may not be pumpkin pie scent for you per se, but you can be sure you have scents that you enjoy and that creates a sense of well being for you. Lavender, Honeysuckle, Cinnamon, Vanilla, or certain musks- there's one for almost everyone.
DEALING WITH OVERWHELM
But what happens when we are bombarded with negative stimuli of our five senses? Imagine allowing a boss to control your life (and sensory input) even while you're away from the office? Perhaps they expect you to be on call (ears, eyes) all the time even after office hours and request that you keep checking your emails and social media to report this and that cutting into your after office hours a.k.a. recoup time? It can be a literal sensory overload that makes you feel like you have no life of your own and it can and often does lead to a break down our mental faculties over time and lead to frustration, anxiety, and depression. Add family demands such as kids etc., into the mix all of with their schedule issues, problems, and routines and you can quickly see why anyone would feel frazzled, overworked, burnt-out and experience a feeling of overwhelm.
WHO IS RUNNING YOUR SCHEDULE?
Are your senses being run by other people's needs and demands? If you don't start setting up some time boundaries you will keep getting the same results- and wondering where all your precious time has gone. With a schedule like this, you can forget about that time you need to recharge yourself using your five senses for the things you need to calm your mind because you are way too busy running around being overstimulated and pleasing everyone else while neglecting your own self-care- once again. But you don't have to stay on that hamster wheel! There is hope! There is a way to get back your sanity, schedule health, and healing.
You may not realize that all this overstimulation and lack of self-care is hurting your mind and relationships. What you do need to understand is that you can change. All you need to do is counteract the demands of others with some clearly defined boundaries of time for your self on a regular basis. Think of some positive input that you'd like to experience using your five senses (sight, smell, taste, touch, hear).
You choose and decide what brings you joy and peace again. No one can define that for you. Listen to your body. How do you feel around certain people or situations? Are there some ways you can limit that by asking for what you want? How about scheduling it? When is the last time you indulged in some time for yourself? Plan it now! Soon you will take back control of your senses and enjoy the beauty of life again. Taking in the calm tranquility and well being you experience will cascade into so many other areas of your life. It's not that you don't have enough time- it's that you have let others dictate how you spend that time meeting their emergencies. Now you can decide to spend a least some time planning how your needs will be met -by you this week.
ASK FOR HELP
For women, stress can be especially debilitating when we are expected to work a full-time job, clean the house, do laundry, and raise kids. I think women are often caught between being "good wives" and being "successful entrepreneurs" or breadwinners. It's okay to ask for help, but sometimes we don't realize we can delegate to a house helper, nanny, or office assistant or husband. And ladies, you don't need to have children to qualify in the asking for help department!
We can all get "ahead" when we ask for help and stop feeling guilty for needing more support and help. We can let the guilt monkeys go and understand that our desire is actually healthy and wise. It's also okay to take time off for self-care such as getting your hair done, getting a massage, or taking an extra-long hot bath with your favorite candle or soap- even if they cost a little more than the cheap stuff because you are worth more than that. Working should give you back something- a little dignity, peace, and some time off. Our brain and well being require it to be healthy and disease-free. You can't afford not to do it. The alternative is not a good one.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CALMING RITUALS
I know for myself, I start the day with a few rituals. One is I work out. Then I practice gratitude and reading a spiritual book and pray for 30 minutes. I map out my day including what I will do to reward myself daily. It can be small. I usually won't end the day without a calming relaxing bath complete with scented soaps, lotions, and candles of my choice. They make me feel feminine and I love scents. I turn all of the lights off and light some candles and enjoy the scents and calm of the warm swirling water on my body. My eyes get a break, my ears get a break, my body gets a break, my skin gets a treat and I usually have a warm herbal tea to boot. It truly feels luxuriant. I am reborn.
If you find it hard to find time to enjoy your five senses and have difficulty taking time for yourself- it's not too late to start now. You can plan your self-care right now. No, you don't need anyone's permission. Get out a piece of paper and write out how much time you want (maybe even start with one hour to yourself) and imagine and plan what you would like to do. Then do it. Today. Consider it a gift to both you and your loved ones. A healthy you is one of the best gifts you could ever give yourself and your family and friends.
GET RID OF THE GUILT
Don't let another moment go by feeling guilty for the genuine need to recharge your own batteries. Unplug from the demands of life and create a sacred space in your home, hotel, or wherever you find yourself. And guard it with your life. Kick guilt to the curb. Get back your identity and peace. Create an evening using your five senses and see if what I am telling you is not 100% true. You will relax and start to feel your own happy self coming into view again. You will be so thankful.
INDULGE YOUR SENSES
Want to see what I use to unwind after work? Check out these essentials and see if it doesn't spark your own evening of pure relaxation and bliss. You owe it to yourself for all that hard work you do. Make it happen. You will be so happy that you did. I promise.