Sense Of Smell Meets Anxiety

Sense Of Smell Meets Anxiety

Many methods to cope with anxiety tend to deal with mental techniques. Things like distracting yourself, counting breaths, etc all are designed to activate your frontal cortex - your frontal lobes are what are responsible for the physical and mental symptoms of stress and anxiety.

However, oftentimes when we are in the middle of a panic attack or a high-stress situation, it's almost impossible to engage your frontal lobes sufficiently enough to bring relief...

That's where our sense of smell comes into play...

You see, researchers have discovered that there is a direct path to your frontal lobes through the olfactory nerves1.

That’s because the primary olfactory cortex or (POC)which is the area of the brain that processes your sense of smell is continuous with the anterior portion of the frontal lobe.

So instead of you trying to think your way out of an anxiety attack, the aroma goes directly to the frontal lobes.

In one recent study published in the journal Cerebral Cortex neuroscientists discovered that your sense of smell has the ability to conjure up pleasant
memories through its connections with the frontal lobes.

What that means is that pleasant odors like those associated with essential oils can help soothe anxiety by helping you re-experience pleasurable memories2.

In fact, olfactory stimulation can directly activate amygdala neurons, bypassing the primary olfactory cortex altogether3 - or in other words, your sense of smell gives you not one but two different powerful pathways to calm your anxiety.


Back to blog