The Power of Foods, Smells and Touch

I’ve read a lot lately about how we connect certain foods, smells and places to particular moments in our own lives.

The scent of my mother’s kitchen before a holiday conjures up thoughts of the family time and love that was always shared.

A spring breeze that brings along the scents of tulips and hyacinths brings me back to my carefree childhood where I would imagine myself Queen of my (backyard) Domain.

I even catch myself stopping to breathe in the scents of New York City just as a tourist would- the hot dog and pretzel vendors on the street, the burnt smell of nuts as you travel through Times Square, the freshness of Central Park in the Springtime.

All these scents and sights bring me back to a moment in my life that I choose to remember forever.

I smell tomato sauce, simmered long and slow on my kitchen stove and think of my mom. I smell freshly cut grass and think of summertime and exploring the great outdoors with cherished childhood friends. I smell lavender and think of one of my brother’s weddings. Certain perfumes and colognes remind me of family members and loved ones.

Our memories are more than just the pictures in our minds but also the scents that remain long after, permanently etched in our brains.

One thing that I ask is if we can remember foods and smells so perfectly in our minds, can we also remember the feel of what it was like to be in those moments? More specifically, what did it feel like to be touched by another in that moment?

It is no surprise that the brain and body respond to touch in a similar manner as we remember scents or tastes.

Think of when you would be hugged by a favorite aunt, uncle or grandparent. If you needed to, you could immediately recall that person’s scent, their laugh but more importantly, you can also remember what it felt like to be wrapped up in them- their arms wrapped around you and yours around them.

Take that memory into today. How many times are you touched during the course of a normal day? How many of us are living through the memory of a past touch, a past kiss, a past hug? Why are we not getting those touches, kisses or hugs now?

In my opinion, we are a society that is touch deprived. We are no longer free to show affection in a way that is not blatantly sexual but often looked down as being so.

It is no surprise that an infant responds to touch in a positive manner and if it is ignored, that infant will NOT thrive. In fact, the infant will suffer from that lack of touch.

What makes us different?

Absolutely nothing!

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