Smell the flowers or the chlorine

In News, posted May 28, 2019

Have you ever been stopped in your tracks by the waft of flowers? The heady scent of roses transporting you back to a place in your past. You may be back in your grandparents garden as a child playing with your new dolls pram. The sight of lambs playing in a field can bring back memories of life long ago when things were good. The feeling of the sun on your skin can transport you to a time when you were enjoying school holidays without a care in the world.

Of course this all sounds idyllic and life sadly isn’t always about endless treasured memories. I would only have to taste a puff of tobacco to remind me how repulsed I now am by cigarettes. The sound too of organ music fills me with dread as it brings to mind seemingly endless days of sitting with my father as he practiced the church organ. He was always engrossed in the music and I was perched in the pew bored, tired and invariably cold. His smell of lavender soap and talc bring about lovely memories and I quite often sniff at a head of lavender in my garden, close my eyes and think of my Dad. 

Every time I smell clean laundry I recall getting home from school on a Monday to a pile of freshly washed and ironed clothes. My Mum had probably been washing all day long. The smell invokes a sense of calm, security and normality. This isn’t something they advertise on the soap packet! 

Have you ever thought about the choice of music that’s played in shops? Different styles of music will prompt customers to get into a zone to spend more money! Estate agents too extol the smell of coffee when trying to stage our homes for sale. Colours are important too, as are font sizes in writing. The ways we can tap in to our modalities is endless! 

So, we process information through the senses of sight (visual) sound (auditory) touch (kinesthetic) and to a lesser degree smell (olfactory) and taste (gustatory). 

I am auditory and olfactory so I invariably recollect things both good and bad through sounds and smells. The really interesting bit about this only became apparent to me when I had hypnosis therapy for my lifelong fear of water. During the session my coach hypnotist asked me to recall an event which as a child had traumatised me enough to stop me venturing into water. She had established that I am auditory and olfactory so things got more rock and roll when she asked me to describe what I could hear. 

I was back as a seven year old, in the swimming pool with my late father who was trying clumsily to teach me to swim. He used the ‘jump in, I’ll catch you and let go of you’ method which he had done himself as a child in the open air lido. As I recalled my swimming lesson while under hypnosis, I could actually smell the changing rooms and the chlorine. I could hear the echoey sound of the swimmers and the splashing of the water as people jumped in to the pool. My anxiety levels at this point had soared to10/10 and I was struggling to catch my breath. What I had always described as a phobia of water was in reality a dread of anything swimming pool related. 

We finished the session with some NLP techniques and I became free from these fears for the first time in my living memory. My hypnosis involved some sound and smell related stuff to really heighten the impact of my therapy. I will never be a cross channel swimmer but I can navigate around a swimming pool now and enjoy the experience. Chlorine no longer frightens me and the sound of swimmers splashing in the pool is a nice sound, not one to take me into fight or flight mode which it always had done before. 

When I use NLP and hypnotherapy now in my own practice I will find out which programme my client is running for their means of sensory perceptions and by making good use of this we can change behaviours and habits fast and effectively. I specialise in bereavement coaching and use clients preferred modalities to enhance their experience of settling them down, removing emotional blocks and moving them forward into their chosen future. 

If you think I can help you in some way then do please get in touch with me. 

I am off to do a couple of lengths of the local pool, have a coffee and then listen to a good play on the radio! 

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