I wrote a 100 word piece of Flash Fiction this week called The Scent of Happiness. (You can read here if you wish).
Our sense of smell is inordinately powerful. It can make us mentally time travel to a past experience within seconds. The smell of home baking transports me back to my Nana’s kitchen, the smell of suncream links me to building sandcastles on a beach with my children. These are all pleasant experiences to revisit. The smell of Gin however, reminds me of teenage heartbreak, of drinking too much in an effort to console my poor, broken heart.
We are often not consciously aware of these sensory links. We may smell something that links us to an unpleasant memory, like the one above, and find ourselves in a low mood, without quite understanding why. In the case of a pleasant memory we may feel sad it has gone, wishing we could cling on to the happy feelings, scared we will never feel that way again.
Through Mindfulness we learn to recognise these sensory links and the physical sensations that may accompany them and observe them in a kindly, non judgemental way. Rather than resisting or ignoring the emotions that are present for us, (what we resist persist) we learn to let them be, to practice acceptance and self compassion, in a way that fully supports our health and wellbeing.