Monday, March 23, 2015

Memory Triggers

Ozone reminds me of cold winter mornings in Phoenix, walking down the sidewalk on the busy main road toward the elementary school where I went to the first grade one winter. The smell of roses take me back to sitting on the dark wood staircase in the funeral home, when my grandfather died. I stepped in the elevator at the condo the other day, and memories of my grandmother's bedroom in the 100 year old farmhouse in Michigan flooded my brain, someone had been wearing a scent that she use to wear. Scent triggers strong memories for me.  Not all scents, but certain distinct scents trigger strong and deep memories.

There is a particular scent of coffee and tobacco smoke that reminds me of breakfast in road side diners when my family drove cross country in the mid 1960's. That scent has become hard to find.

Some memories I can trigger intentionally, by seeking out the scent, others just hit me.  Most are pleasant memories.

We all have memory triggers, smells, sounds, textures.  If we can find the ones that bring us pleasant feelings and surround ourselves with them, we can influence our feelings.    


  1. Im trying to remember my primary school smell........

  2. bakery and hardware store smells I associate with my youth...

  3. Hyacinths = Easter when I was a child. Very happy. (And I still don't know what ozone smells like.)

  4. olfactory memories hit us right in the emotional parts of the brain; they make the best memories.