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Stressed out? Grab your partner’s shirt and sniff it to calm down

The odour of a romantic partner’s clothing can help lower stress.

Written by: India TV Lifestyle Desk, New Delhi [ Published on: January 05, 2018 19:12 IST ]
Stress

Just a whiff of your romantic partner can help you get your zen back on stressful days, new research shows.

Women may complain about the smell of their husband's dirty laundry, but a new study has found the odour of a romantic partner’s clothing can help lower stress.

Scents are powerful as a study has recently revealed that women feel calmer and relaxed when they are exposed to their male partner's shirt, even in their absence.

According to the University of British Columbia researchers, the scent of a romantic partner can help lower stress levels.

However, they also found that being exposed to a stranger's scent had the opposite effect and raised levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.

Lead author Marlise Hofer said, "Many people wear their partner's shirt or sleep on their partner's side of the bed when their partner is away, but may not realize why they engage in these behaviours".

"Our findings suggest that a partner's scent alone, even without their physical presence, can be a powerful tool to help reduce stress", Hofer explained.

They team examined 96 opposite-sex couples.

Men were given a clean T-shirt to wear for 24 hours and were also asked to refrain from using deodorant and scented body products, smoking and eating certain foods that could affect their scent.

The women were randomly assigned to smell a T-shirt that was either unworn, or had been worn by their partner or a stranger and later underwent a stress test involving, a mock job interview and a mental math task.

They have also answered questions about their stress levels and provided saliva samples used to measure their cortisol levels.

The findings indicated that women who had smelled their partner's shirt felt less stressed both before and after the stress test.

They also found that those who both smelled their partner's shirt and also correctly identified the scent also had lower levels of cortisol, suggesting that the stress-reducing benefits of a partner's scent are strongest when women know what they're smelling.

Hofer explained, "From a young age, humans fear strangers, especially strange males, so it is possible that a strange male scent triggers the 'fight or flight' response that leads to elevated cortisol".

The research appears in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 

(with ANI inputs)

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