Have you ever noticed how a certain scent can make or break your day? There’s nothing quite like the delicious smell of homemade tamales for me, it takes me back to helping my grandma and mom make tamales on Christmas Eve when I was a kid! I must admit that certain scents aren’t quite as appealing to me, and can even induce a headache. According to renowned psychologist, Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo, “Your nose actually has about five million receptor cells, and it’s got a direct connection into your brain.” She also stated that the nose “is linked into the brain and specifically the limbic system, which is in charge of certain things like memory and emotions, and that’s why you can smell a scent that you haven’t smelled in decades and it takes you right back.”
Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo was kind enough to join me for an interview recently to discuss how certain scents can make us feel different emotions, how we become immune to certain scents, and how we can get the kitchen (and every room in the home) smelling fabulous just in time for summer entertaining.
Candace Rose: How do certain scents cause us to feel different emotions and why is that?
Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo: “Your nose actually has about five million receptor cells, and it’s got a direct connection into your brain. It probably dates back to prehistoric times when you needed your nose for survival, so you could sniff out your enemies or even find food. Now, we don’t need our nose for survival, but because the nose is directly linked into the brain and specifically the limbic system.
The limbic system is in charge of certain things like memory and emotions, and that’s why you can smell a scent that you haven’t smelled in decades and it takes you right back to say your high school sweetheart.”
Candace Rose: We spend a lot of time in our homes and in the kitchen in particular, which is a gathering place for families. What can you tell us about smells in this room?
Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo: “Let’s face it, a foul odor can create a foul atmosphere. One of the biggest culprits can be the kitchen sponge, and this is why I joined up with Scotch-Brite brand. They’ve got this new extreme scrub sponge that not only eliminates the need to presoak your dishes, but it’s also got a patented antimicrobial property that resists bacterial odor so you can say goodbye to your stinky sponge. With four times the scrubbing power, you can get your dishes done faster so you have that sense of accomplishment because clean feels good.”
Candace Rose: Bad smells tend to go away after a while, but that isn’t always the case. Is this immunity to stinky scents a real thing?
Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo: “Absolutely! The smell is still there, you’re just not aware of it. We call it sensory adaptation, again it goes back to survival. Our brain is prime to smell dangerous smells. When it smells something that it really realizes that it isn’t dangerous, it stops noticing it – that’s that sensory adaptation. It’s why you can go into someone’s house and it has a certain scent that they don’t realize. Or for example if you light a candle, you smell that scent for a while, but it seems to fade away, that’s sensory adaptation.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any advice on how one can make their home smell great for summer entertaining?
Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo: “Absolutely! I call these my happiness scents. Lavender is a great go-to scent. Freshly cut lavender not only reduces stress, but it also helps cure or get rid of insomnia. Putting it in the bedroom is a great idea. Vanilla is another great scent that is shown to promote joy and relaxation. When you need a quick pick me up, forget the coffee – go for citrus. Just smelling this fruit can actually increase your alertness and your energy.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?
Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo: “When I’m having company over one of the things that I love to do is create a simmer pot. You put water and aromatic spices, herbs, fruit – turn it on and it smells so good throughout your entire house.”
Candace Rose: Well, thank you for the great tips, Dr. Lombardo! Where can we go for more information?
Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo: “For more information go to ScotchBrite.com.”