If you have been in emergency service anytime at all there are smells that trigger emotional feelings. How do smells trigger such strong emotions and memories?
According to Psychology Today, “the answer is likely due to brain anatomy. Incoming smells are first processed by the olfactory bulb, which starts inside the nose and runs along the bottom of the brain. The olfactory bulb has direct connections to two brain areas that are strongly implicated in emotion and memory: the amygdala and hippocampus. Interestingly, visual, auditory (sound), and tactile (touch) information do not pass through these brain areas. This may be why olfaction, more than any other sense, is so successful at triggering emotions and memories.”
Some aromas from my career are the smell of a road ditch where antifreeze, oil, diesel, and mud have been mixed by the rescue crews as they extricate a patient with the smell of alcohol on their breath. The smell of the GI Bleed that is calling for help bathed in a cold sweat in a small bathroom. The smell after the house fire is extinguished and the firemen are doing rehab. Those smells have very strong emotions tied to my career but I pray the strongest aroma in my life is the Aroma of Christ. I hope my co-workers, my patients, my students and the world can smell His aroma on my life.
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 2:14, (NIV) “14 We thank God for the power Christ has given us. He leads us and makes us win in everything. He speaks through us wherever we go. The Good News is like a sweet smell to those who hear it. 15 We are a sweet smell of Christ that reaches up to God. It reaches out to those who are being saved from the punishment of sin and to those who are still lost in sin.”
What aroma are you emanating?