Stressed Out? Try Smelling Your Partner’s Shirt

There are lots of known ways to alleviate stress– some people exercise, others chat with friends– but science says there may be another way: sniffing your romantic partner’s shirt. University of British Columbia researchers looked at 96 opposite-sex couples, and had the men wear a clean T-shirt for 24 hours without deodorant or scented body products, smoking or eating certain foods that could affect their scent. Their female partners were then randomly assigned to smell a T-shirt that was either unworn, or had been worn by their partner or a stranger, and were not told which one they had been given. Then the women were put into stressful situations, and had their stress levels monitored as they sniffed whichever shirt they had been given. Ultimately, women who smelled their partner’s shirt felt less stressed both before and after the stress test. Also, women who knew they were smelling their partner’s scent got the most stress-reducing benefits, and those who sniffed a stranger’s scent had higher levels of stress hormones throughout the stress test. It’s believed the finding could be used to help people cope with stressful situations when they’re away from loved ones. (EurekAlert!