1 Year Mindfulness Challenge

A Year of Mindfulness – 25 – Smells

smell
Photo by Jeff Nissen on Unsplash

This week, I had to select some strong-smelling objects and at moments throughout the day close my eyes and breathe in the scent, focusing my attention purely on this. Now, there was nothing on the task card to ascertain whether these should be enjoyable scents – but given that I was to revisit the scent numerous times a day, I chose things that I do enjoy the smell of. I had to acknowledge the emotions or thoughts the scent stirred up, and reflect on them whilst smelling the object.

It was quite a nice task, to be honest, and a good way to revive the promise I made to myself that I’d never take my ability to smell for granted again after losing it earlier this year (post here). I definitely have taken it for granted again, so it was a great way to bring me back in tune. Sometimes I only smelled them once, whilst others I came back to throughout the day. Below are the strong smells that I used as a vehicle to become grounded and present each day!

Coffee

A writer who doesn’t love coffee is like a bird with no wings. Well, not quite, but you get my point. I love coffee. I love to sit and inhale its aroma whilst watching the steam swirl and dance above and out of my cup, so this one was easy. I made sure to breathe in the smell of my coffee every time I drank it throughout the day. It made me feel calm, relaxed and content.

Candle

Lavender is one of, if not my absolute favourite smell, especially in a candle. I love fresh, clean smelling things but lavender has the power to make me feel instantly relaxed. When we adapted the spare bedroom to become a home office, I filled it with beautiful lavender candles, so this week I made the most of the excuse to light it several times a day and enjoy it. It was so lovely to reenter the room when it smelt like lavender.

James

It feels quite bizarre to list my human husband as an object of smelling this week, but I find different humans’ smells one of the most comforting things about them. There’s nothing better than smelling a perfume and it instantly reminding you of a loved one and the sensation of hugging them closely. In this case, I love the smell of James’s freshly washed hair and remnants of aftershave after a day at work, it makes me feel cosy and loved.

Petrichor

I’m not sure how I got to almost 30 years old without knowing there was a word for this delicious smell, but the Cambridge Online English dictionary defines it as:

the smell produced when rain falls on dry ground, usually experienced as being pleasant

It’s now one of my favourite words as well as smells! We’ve had a lot of rain lately, but it’s been quite dry and human, and I really love the smell of fresh rain on the ground. I often stand outside to take it in anyway, but for the purpose of this task I did so with extra intention and consideration.

Petrol

I know I shouldn’t really promote going around sniffing petrol, but how can I realistically be expected to not enjoy it whilst filling my car with the stuff? Having recently got my own car, I have had to go to the petrol station for the first time in ages and have really enjoyed the opportunity to inhale the delightful black substance. The world ‘inhale’ here is referring to the smell only, obviously. I didn’t go around guzzling petrol.

Flowers

We are fortunate to have a beautiful garden, filled with an array of different flowers. One of my favourite flower scents is rose, and we have plenty that grow in our garden! I often find myself wandering around my garden inhaling the smell of them whilst trying to dodge the bees that are pollinating everything right now. I could breathe it in all day and not get bored – it makes me think of freshness and light contentment. I might try to find a rose-scented candle as I really do love the smell, and I realise just how much the more I smell it!

Burnt matches

As I was looking online to see whether this smell had a name (and if it does and you know it – please let me know!), I was surprised to see a lot of people hate this smell. It’s been one of my favourite scents on the planet for as long as I can remember! That smell when you strike a match or blow out a candle and are left with just smoke and burnt ends, I love it so much!

I often find with these tasks that I take a card out of the jar and roll my eyes, thinking I can’t really be bothered doing it. But each week where I have one of those tasks, once I get started I actually start to have fun with it. This was one of those weeks! I really enjoyed paying attention to these things and I’m glad I stuck with this one! I recommend doing it!

See you next week!

2 thoughts on “A Year of Mindfulness – 25 – Smells”

  1. Wow I’ve just stumbled across your blog. Such a good read. I contracted Covid-19 and lost my sense of smell a month ago… For someone like myself who has an acute sense of smell… I especially love beautiful smell I am finding it so difficult to accept. I am hopeful that it will return…. It absolutely must.

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    1. Thank you for your kind comment! I can see how important smells are to you and I am so deeply sorry you’ve lost your sense of smell for so long! I don’t know whether I had Covid-19 earlier this year, but I did lose my sense of taste and smell for a week. It was awful, and it was only for a week. I was overjoyed when it came back! I really hope yours does soon – keep us updated as I’d love to hear when it does!

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