But, a new study at the University of British Columbia in Canada has a good news for women. This new study1 finds that simply smelling a romantic partner’s shirt can relieve stress. Previously, we’ve learned how the five senses can trigger sexual arousals and smell is one of them.
The Stress-Relieving Effect of Romantic Partner
The researchers say that the scent of another individual can trigger emotions, spark a romantic attraction, or even activate certain memories. However, almost nothing has been known about how a scent of another person can influence stress response.
In the study, researchers randomly assigned 96 women to smell three scents such as scent of a;
- Romantic partner
- Complete stranger
- Neutral scent
Then, these women were exposed to an acute stressor. The level of stress on the subjects was monitored continuously during the duration of the study. When the researchers finalized their findings, this is what they found.
Women who were exposed to their partner’s scent have a low-stress level. The reduction in stress occurs during stress anticipation and recovery. On the other hand, women who sniffed a stranger’s scent have elevated cortisol, which is a stress hormone.
The current work speaks to the critical role of human olfactory cues in social communication and reveals that social scents can impact both psychological and physiological reactions to stress.
Researchers Take-Home Message
The researchers have one simple take-home message with regards to their findings. The present findings in this study suggest a simple way to relieve stress and could one of the simplest stress management strategy.
Particularly, these findings are useful to those who are spending most of their time traveling. Simply take a piece of your partner’s clothing along with you and sniff it from time to time.
This is something awesome to do especially to those who are in long-distance relationships. Although you can’t smell your partner while having a conversation on the phone or perhaps, a video call, you can hold and smell that piece of clothing while talking to your partner.
This may not be a big deal for men, but it is for women. So, why not take advantage of the new findings and put it in real life? You lost nothing. Besides, no one will laugh at you because you do that. Your partner will absolutely appreciate it especially if he knows the positive impact on it.
Perhaps, next time, both of you hold a piece of clothing from each other while having a conversation over the phone.
Does These Findings Help Men, Too?
Obviously, this is beneficial for women. On the other hand, it put interests on the authors to study whether it has the same effect the other way.
Marlise Hofer, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Psychology in University of British Columbia, Canada says;
A man may be less likely to wear his girlfriend’s shirt while she’s away but he may still sleep on her side of the bed or smell other items that belong to her.
I know I’ve personally seen men smelling the hair of their partner when they’re standing behind them. So maybe they just have slightly different behaviors that are accomplishing basically the same thing.
So, men, it might be a good one to try and see if triggers stress relief for you!