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Does the end of the year smell to you?  Someone feels it (and science explains it) – 12/21/2022

Does the end of the year smell to you? Someone feels it (and science explains it) – 12/21/2022

Strange as it may sound, but for many people, the month of December has a special scent. Some say the last month of the year has a sweet scent; Others think that something a little more fruity or, perhaps, a little woody takes over the air when it’s this time of year.

However, what few people know is that it is possible to explain why this happens.

One Article The publication in Scientific American notes that certain dates, such as Christmas and New Year’s, are able to activate our olfactory memory, which indicates direct links with the processing of emotions.

Journalist Anna Bjornberg, 31, admits that the mere thought of Christmas immediately brings a sweet smell to mind.

“I take a deep breath and it brings me happiness, complete nostalgia. That sweet scent comes from the cupboard where my grandmother kept the sweets before I was born, and then from the place of the tinsel and the tree. So, when I smell this, I actually remember everything. Laying on the tree with my mom and grandparents was such a special day.” In my house when I was a kid,” he says.

Physiotherapist livia silvera, 34, december morning also has a sweet scent. “It’s a sweet, warm scent, like you’re making cotton candy. Out on the street at my mom’s house, very early in the morning, when it’s that time of year, you can smell it.”

It’s very common for people to associate dates with a certain smell, says Livia Ciachi, a neuroscientist at Supera – Gymnastics for the Brain. Classic examples of the relationship between scents and seasons, according to her, are the traditional panettone and chocotone. Since they are especially consumed in the month of December, the brain automatically associates these foods with the holidays.

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“This unique scent explains exactly what is going on in the brain in terms of smells related to memories. In the case of specific foods or situations, it immediately rescues that sensation, creating this state of ‘end-of-the-year scent’ or a scent that immediately refers to a specific period of life.” , says Chiacchi.

The smell of panettone reminds many people of Christmas

Image: iStock

How is olfactory memory created?

According to Renata Ferraz, ENT specialist and sleep physician at the neurology unit of HUPAA (University Hospital Prof. Alberto Antunes), at UFAL (Federal University of Alagoas), during nasal breathing, odor molecules (aroma) are directed to the upper part of the nose where there are fibers olfactory nerve

“This information travels to the central nervous system to be recognized by the brain. During this passage there is also information from the limbic system, which identifies olfactory memories associated with smells, such as the smell of coffee, something from childhood, and a perfume that remembers something good from the past, where there are Also memories associated with not-so-good smells,” he explains.

However, according to Ferraz, the formation of an olfactory memory will depend on the stock of odors a person has been exposed to during their lifetime.

“Based on this repertoire, it becomes easier to form associations, develop sensations, and generate memories related to smells,” he says.

Alexandre Lucidi, a geneticist specializing in neuroscience at Unirio (Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro), points out that memory provides people with a structure through which they make sense of the present and the future.

He explains that there is evidence that exposure to scents can trigger memories of past experiences and positive emotions. “These findings are supported by neuronal evidence indicating activation of regions associated with memory and emotional processes such as the amygdala, hippocampus, temporal gyrus and temporal pole during exposure to odors.”

Christmas dinner;  children;  Family - iStock - iStock

The scent can trigger flashbacks

Image: iStock

Familiar scents can be comforting

Certain scents can often be relaxing, says Monica Machado, a psychologist specializing in psychoanalysis and mental health at the Institute for Teaching and Research at Albert Einstein Hospital. More so if the person is going through a situation that needs support and affection.

“We have for example the smell of typical Christmas foods, a date usually celebrated with the family. The smell of a roast turkey can bring us back to good memories, like those of other Christmases, like those of childhood, when Christmas is an absolutely amazing time.”

On the other hand, according to the psychologist, if the date was traumatic or negative experiences, the effect may be the opposite.

“Smell brings back bad memories. That is, each individual experiences certain experiences and has a different perception of the same stimuli. This is why smells that are good for some can be harmful for others, causing different sensations for each person.”

Machado points out that the smells of childhood remain in our brains as strong connections to an emotional past that we reach from time to time to remember happy moments.

“Due to the fact that aromas have the ability to awaken feelings, memories, and even physical reactions, they can be used as allies to maintain our physical and mental health,” he says.

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