Podcast 6: A Smell to Quell Panic

Anxiety Panic Attacks

How a Smell Can Stop Panic

In this podcast I want to talk about the amygdala which acts like a Meerkat sitting on top of a mound looking out for danger for you. Again only trying to protect you, but as soon as it senses danger it sends a signal to the hypothalamus and pineal gland; your body is flooded with cortisol getting you ready for fight or flight. This can be triggered by any kind of stress, but the good thing is it can be overridden really quickly by a smell, something associated with happy or calming times.

I just finished a meditation and the smell of sandalwood reminded me about this, so I thought I’d record this now. So see if you have a smell that reminds you of a good time, happy time or a particularly peaceful time.

A friend gave me a blend of the essential oils orange and patchouli, I would put a dot of this on a cotton ball and fold it up carefully into a tissue so I could pull that out when I was out and started to feel a bit wobbly or anxious. This really does override that system, and it gets straight to the amygdala and calms it down. For some reason it doesn’t go through the normal systems of the brain, it goes straight to the amygdala and calms it.

So find an oil or smell and put a little on some cotton wrapped in tissue and take that out with you or keep it with you throughout the day, and inhale it, deep breath, whenever you’re feeling a bit anxious and it calms the amygdala immediately. So try that.

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1 comment

  1. Cj

    What an amazing article and a genuinely perfect idea. I read somewhere previously about putting together an anti-anxiety bag that you can carry around with you so that when you have an attack you can open it up and pull out things that are calming to you whether it be pictures, medication, etc. This fits in nicely with my plan and I’m so happy to have found you and your site.

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