Mmmmm it’s like that smell transports us. With winter getting closer, the parks are getting their last manicure until Spring. So let’s get under the hood of that lawnmower!
How is it, that a feel-good can come with just an inhale of something so seemingly simple, triggering places real and imagined, big bales of hay, sunny riverbanks or parks where we played – it’s a sense of carefree.
Plants have been around much longer than us. We think they’re not so smart, but they’ve got much more going on than we previously gave them credit for. The smells of plants are a language. Predominately for each other but also for the insects that evolved along side them. For instance this wonder whiff that we are so drawn, is a straight up a grass warning to other grass that they’re about to get their heads chopped off! The grass in reaction is triggered to pull it’s nutrients deeper in order to save it’s food supply and in time regrow.
Insect messages from the plants have different scents for other challenges. For instance, to get rid of an enemy that is eating them. Here a sent signals out luring in other insects to eat the insects that are munching on them! But what about us? Well that fresh smell which is often simply called green odor, (or GVL for those who want to rabbit hole) has a psychological effect, not just for us but for our genetic relatives, the apes. This green odor – a complex mixture of chemicals – triggers parts of our brain that can heal our stress and even reduce pain. When mixed up in a different way it can also send a lure that we really love that says ‘come get me’ I’m ripe! But for them it’s actually saying ‘come spread my seeds’! They have us at their mercy! Think the smell of oranges, lemons or apples when you cut into their juicy offerings. Another hook so that we return to them is that breathing in the smells actually helps uplift and reduce depression.
However, our plant friends don’t like to give everything at once to the scientists. The scent of freshly cut grass also triggers something called the Proust Effect, where with a little inhale of it’s green magic, positive memories come to mind and lots of feel good. We have yet to understand this fully, but until then we can just enjoy the bouquet.
Nature Sense is about ‘going outside to feel good inside’ – naturally. About finding something every day to feel positive about, something for many that stands in stark contrast to a tablet that numbs you from feeling at all. Now, with an understanding perhaps when you hear that distant burr of the lawn mower you know that as the noise subsides that the ‘whispering grass’ are sending us their secret gift of feel-good at a time we may most need it!
Natural biohacking tip: Try walking bare foot in the freshly cut grass, the extra moisture will enhance your earthing, which reduces inflammation within the body. If you can stand or sit amongst the grass and breathe deeply with your mouth closed, your nasal receptors can take in all the benefits. Face the light and relax, enjoy that last wiff before the winter sleeps set in.