Odor induced feelings do influence thought content and the thinking process, mental concentration and perhaps even rational judgment which is left brain activity but only indirectly. They can also affect our moods which are not only complex but transient. Moods can strongly affect and determine every behavior from eating habits to social conduct.
So what happens? Odor stimuli in the limbic system release neurotransmitters:
Endorphins reduce pain, stimulate *** feelings, and produce a sense of well-being. These are also feel-good hormones. Endorphins are endogenous opioid polypeptide compounds. These are big words that simply tell us that these hormones are created by the body and have similar actions to opiates. They are produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus during strenuous exercise, excitement, and orgasm. And, they resemble the opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a sense of well-being. Endorphins work as “natural fever relievers. " The term “endorphin" implies a pharmacological activity. It consists of two parts: endo- and -orphin; these are short forms of the words endogenous and morphine, intended to mean “a morphine-like substance originating from within the body. "
Enkephalines reduce pain, produce pleasant euphoric sensations, and create a feeling of well-being.
These feel-good hormones are a type of endorphine that are particularly euphoric. They are either of two naturally occurring pentapeptides (methionine and leucine) isolated from the brain, which have potent opiate-like effects and probably serve as neurotransmitters.
Serotonin helps relax and calm. In the central nervous system, serotonin is believed to play an important role as a neurotransmitter in the modulation of anger, aggression, body temperature, mood, sleep, sexuality, and appetite as well as stimulating vomiting. Serotonin is found extensively in the human gastrointestinal tract (about 80-90% of the body's total serotonin is found in the gut). In the blood, the major storage site is platelets, which collect serotonin for use to help with post-injury vasoconstriction.
Noradrenalin acts as a stimulant that helps keep you awake. Noradrenalin is one of the catecholamine hormones, chemically related to adrenalin and crucial to help us maintain alertness, drive, and motivation. This hormone functions as an important neurotransmitter in the sympathetic nervous system and in the central nervous system. Levels of noradrenalin often are significantly reduced in people with depression or who attempt suicide.
These are all complex hormonal activities. They are orchestrated by the limbic system by way of the hypothalamus. Your emotional or instinctual reactions that get registered in the limbic system-get translated into physical responses like your “fight or flight, " *** impulses or the expression of pleasure. These are pretty important hormones that keep us safe and keep our species alive!
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From Linda L. Smith, director of the Institute of Spiritual Ministry and Aromatherapy, Inc.