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The Centre for Studies on Human Stress (CSHS) is dedicated to improving the physical and mental health of Canadians by empowering individuals with scientifically grounded information on the effects of stress on the brain and body.
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A study has shown that many men and women voluntarily smell the clothes worn by their romantic partner when they are separated from each other. Some of these people reported positive psychological effects, such as feelings of well-being, comfort and relaxation. Researchers from the University of British Columbia and Harvard University examined the potential benefits of the romantic partner’s scent on the stress response. Ninety-six heterosexual women smelled, before and after exposure to a stressor, the smell of a t-shirt that was worn either by their partner, by a stranger, or never worn. In order to measure their subjective level of stress (perceived stress), women answered a questionnaire. To measure their physiological stress reaction, they provided saliva samples which enable to quantify cortisol, a major stress hormone. The results showed that women who smelled the scent of their partner’s t-shirt reported less perceived stress compared to women who smelled the t-shirt worn by a stranger or not worn. At the level of the physiological stress response, women who had smelled the scent of a stranger had higher levels of cortisol compared to women who had smelled the scent of their lover. In addition, when women recognized the smell of their partner, they showed a decrease in their levels of cortisol.

So, ladies, next time you’re stressed, smell a clothing worn by your lover. It could reduce your stress!

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