December 3


Seasonal Scents Willpower Strategy

By Sue Ingebretson

December 3, 2019

aromatherapy, arthritis, brain, CFS, Christmas, Cravings, diet, essential oils, fibromyalgia, food, mindset, odor, satiety, scents, science, seasonal, smell, willpower

Good news! You can use seasonal scents to increase willpower. It smells like Christmas, right? Are there scents that evoke specific holiday memories for you? What about cinnamon, vanilla, warmed sugar, pine, bayberry, citrus, and peppermint? Use your fibro-enhanced sense of smell to BOOST your willpower and put your brain’s sensory interpretation skills to work — right now.

Even though we’re more likely to notice – and feel the negative physical effects from – unpleasant smells or odors than pleasant ones, this strategy can help.

Use your magnified sense of smell today to increase your willpower by following this simple (and delightful!) technique. 

Follow this simple - and delightful - scents willpower strategy! #Fibromyalgia #EO Share on X

Fibromyalgia and Scents  

Your chronic illness gives you superpowers. The over-active brain of those with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, migraines, lupus, arthritis, and other chronic illnesses increases our awareness of (and impact from) the smells that surround us.

In an article I’ve written for entitled, The Science of Scents, Moods, and Essential Oils, I share this —

“When an odor is detected, it immediately binds to the receptors and then creates an electrical signal to the brain. This signal is then analyzed for interpretation. Is the smell pleasing, offensive, or even dangerous? All of this interpretation is done so rapidly that it precedes thought. The body has the signal to act (if necessary) before it even has time to think.”

Did you catch that?

Of all the senses, our sense of smell is the ONLY one that can cause behaviors or actions that are instinctively reactive (without thought). While the instinctual part isn’t the focus of today’s strategy, the strength of the connection between our brain and our sense of smell is.

Take a look at the interesting results of a recent scientific study below.

Scents, Willpower, and Scientific Study Results

The Journal of Marketing Research set out to study how our sense of smell impacts our ability to make healthy choices.

Participants were randomly given the scents of either cookies or strawberries to smell. Not surprisingly, those who were given a whiff of the cookies were more likely to choose a cookie over strawberries when given the option.

No surprise there.

But what happens when it’s longer than a whiff?

As it turns out, the body and brain can acclimate itself to a pleasing scent and feel sated and satisfied by it! Crazy, eh?

This study showed that by intentionally enjoying the scent, rather than moving away and trying to avoid it, participants had a positive physical reaction. To summarize, they simply felt good. Who doesn’t want to feel that way?

The Seasonal Scent Willpower Strategy

So here it is. When you catch a waft of something tantalizing and delightful, go ahead and indulge – in the scent, that is

Whatever it is that intrigues you – cinnamon cookies, chocolate, pizza, your grandmother’s garlicky meatloaf – do the following with intention:

Smell it … enjoy it … delight in it!

Do this for at least two minutes so that you feel completely immersed in this full-body and brain experience.

Notice how your body feels – happy, content, satisfied, etc. Let your mind consider how you already feel the benefits of the memories of this scent. That’s a good thing.

Feeling delighted is powerful medicine.

A brain that feels satisfied can push away or override thoughts of cravings, hunger, or longing.  

BONUS Willpower Strategy

As an additional tip, use high-quality essential oils to help you stay on track with your dietary plans this season. Keep peppermint, spearmint, citrus blends (especially grapefruit!), and spicy scents such as cinnamon and ginger on hand.

Inhale from the bottle, an inhaler, or from your favorite essential oil diffuser jewelry before mealtimes to relax your brain, change your mood, and set yourself up for success. Essential oils have been proven to change mood and behaviors.

For ideas of particular oils to blend, check out this post, Step-by-Step Guide to Using Essential Oils to Beat Sugar Cravings.

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"True Healing requires a combination of healthy nutrition, healthy body movements, and emotional wellness. This is what I call the Restoration Trio" ~ Sue Ingebretson