Job deadlines, capital city traffic, pressure from superiors in the office, messy conditions in the house, babysitters suddenly want to stop working – there are many things that can stress you out. When you experience this condition, what do you usually do? Go to the spa? Watch a favorite TV series? Or just hanging out with friends? All sounds fun! There is actually one simple way you can do to relieve stress: smell the scent of your partner’s clothes.
The stress level has decreased
According to research from the University of British Colombia, Canada, the smell of a couple’s clothes can reduce the hormone cortisol, popularly known as a stress hormone in women. The study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, examined 96 couples. Men are asked to wear T-shirts for 24 hours without using deodorant, perfume, or any body deodorizer or clothing. The male participants were also asked not to smoke and avoid foods that could affect his body’s scent. After the shirt is worn all day, then the shirt is frozen to preserve the scent.
Furthermore, female participants (who are partners of male participants) were given 3 shirts to smell: new shirts that have never been worn, shirts that have been worn all day by their partners, and shirts worn by strangers and unknown . The female participants were not told whether the shirt belonged to whom or who was used by it. In this study, the reason why female participants were asked to be the smellers was because women had a sharper sense of smell than men.
After smelling the scents of the three shirts, the female participants were given a job interview simulation and asked to do math assignments. The aim is to increase the respondent’s stress level. After that, researchers measured their stress levels by measuring the hormone cortisol, whose samples were taken from saliva.
The result, female respondents who were given the scent of their partner’s t-shirts had significantly decreased cortisol levels compared with respondents who were given new t-shirts and T-shirts of unknown people. In addition, female respondents who were asked about their stress levels before and after doing assignments and interview simulations, felt calmer after smelling the scent of their partner’s clothes.
Unique facts from the results of this study, female respondents who were given the scent of an unknown stranger’s clothes actually instead gave a different result: the level of the hormone cortisol or stress hormone has increased. This is allegedly because from an early age, humans have a natural instinct to fear strangers, so smelling a scent that is considered alien will trigger a fight-or-flight response (instinct to face threats or escape) in the body. This condition can actually increase stress hormones.
Further studies are still needed, especially regarding whether the products used, such as perfume, shampoo, or body spray, can also trigger the reduction of stress hormone levels as the results of this study.
The researchers concluded that the results of this study could be beneficial for couples who are undergoing long-distance relationships and are experiencing stress. So, next time you have to go out of town or abroad for a long time, just bring your partner’s dirty clothes and put them in your suitcase. If you feel stressed, you just smell it!