If you are like me- breaking old habits and adopting new ones can be so very difficult to do.
In fact, it almost feels impossible.
So when it comes to forming new habits I'll take every bit of help I can get.
This is where using our sense of smell to anchor and reinforce our new behaviour patterns can really make all the difference.
Use scent to make adopting new habits easier
You see, our sense of smell is our most powerful sense for triggering memory. And we can use this fact to build and reinforce good habits
What the Science Says
Psychologists at the University of Central Lancashire in the UK found that smelling and associating a strong odour with a positive activity not only helped to reinforce the positive behaviour in their subjects, but also assisted with improving their performance and motivation over time.
The Scent - Memory Connection
You see, scent signals go directly to the memory part of the brain - the limbic system and are not subject to being processed by the thalamus and then the cerebal cortex - (our interpretation, thinking part of the brain) like our other senses.
Easily Adopt New Habits - Re-Train Your Brain
At moon haven we decided to take advantage of this direct scent- memory connection to make adopting new habits so much easier.
We developed our Scent Reinforcement Technique (SRT) using these scientific principles - and we found that it works!
Moon Haven's Scent Reinforcement Technique
Here are the steps:
Choose the habit you intend to change or adopt.
Select a unique essential oil or essential oil blend that you wan to associate with the new habit.
Make a pulse point potion with the unique essential oil scent - make sure you label to bottle
Apply the scent to temples and jaw line to positively reinforce the new behaviour when you do it
Apply the scent every time you perform the new habit so that the scent association is embedded in the limbic system (memory centre) in your brain.
It usually takes 21 to 28 days to create a habit...so program yourself to do this new thing every day for 28 days.
Keep the scent combination only for that particular task - you want to associate that scent with the new habit only
Ensure that you also have a different scent to embed a scent association to reinforce times of rest and relaxation
How I Used MH's Scent Reinforcement Technique
I needed to adopt an exercise routine that suited me
You know how it goes... it's New Years and you know you need to up the regular exercise if you want to get fit this year.
Well this is me this year!
I'm in my early 60's.
I carry a bit of extra weight and I am certainly unfit.
With all of this in mind I know that a simple 30 minute walk each day will do me the world of good.
Using the technique
Going through the steps above this is what I chose to do:
Identify the habit: So the habit I wanted to develop was the habit of going for a fast 30 minute walk every day .
I'd be happy with 5 days out of 7. (I can change the activity and intensity as my fitness level improves.)
Choose an essential oil or blend to associate with this habit - I wanted to feel invigorated and motivated to move so I chose Eucalyptus radiata essential oil as the scent i wanted to hang my exercise habit on .
For me Eucalyptus essential Oil is uplifting, invigorating and reminds me of long walks in the bush.
Make a Pulse Point Roll On: I made a pulse point roll on with 2 ml of Eucalyptus radiata oil and 8 ml of fractionated coconut oil to use for this habit. I call it my "get up and go" roll on.
Choose the time and place : I decided to walk in the late afternoons in summer when its cooler and placed the reminder in my calendar.
5. Apply the Pulse Point: A couple of minutes before my walk I apply the pulse point blend to my temples and jaw line.
6. I take a few moments to breathe in the uplifting invigorating scents of Eucalyptus oil, focussing my mind on what I'll know will be an incredible walk.
7. Then for the next few minutes I get ready to go for my walk - put on shoes, grab my hat and water bottle - all the time telling myself that this is moving me towards becoming fitter and healthier.
8. Then as I am about to walk out the door I re-apply a little of the pulse point blend to boost the scent .
9. I love breathing the scent in deeply as I go on my walk.
To help reinforce this habit I try to go for my walk at the same time each day. For me that is in the late afternoon in Summer when the air is cool but its still light outside. I set a reminder a few minutes in advance so I can prepare and get my mind in the right zone.
I make sure my walking gear is in one place and easy to get to.
Lastly, I don't beat myself up mentally if I miss a day. I appreciate that new habits take time to become habitual. I've given myself 4 weeks to make this new habit routine.
I'd love to hear how you get on.
Leonie of moon haven
Chem Senses. 2008 Jan;33(1):65-71.
doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjm063. Epub 2007 Sep 10.
"Olfactory conditioning of positive performance in humans"
International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis -Volume 57, 2009 - Issue 2:184-197
doi.org/10.1080/00207140802665450 Epub: 2010 Oct 27
"Hypnotherapeutic Olfactory Conditioning (HOC): Case Studies of Needle Phobia, Panic Disorder, and Combat-Induced PTSD"
Eitan G. Abramowitz & Pesach Lichtenberg
Fractionated Coconut Oil 100ml Wonderful skin and hair moisturiser
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