If you close your eyes and think for a few moments, you can probably envision certain familiar smells. Coffee. A wood fire burning. Banana pancakes sizzling on the stove. Are you feeling a little comforted? We thought so.
Our sense of smell is even more powerful than we may think. Research has long since shown that scent has the power to bring back memories and trigger certain emotions. In fact, research shows a pleasant scent has the power to improve our moods by up to 40 percent.
After all, why do you think of your mom in an apron baking with you when you smell the delicious scent of chocolate chip cookies? It probably evokes some pretty happy thoughts, doesn’t it? Science!
Now, a new study showed another pretty amazing benefit a simple smell can have—more specifically, the smell of your romantic partner.
Do us a favor and close your eyes. Think about your boyfriend or husband. Think about how you feel when you’re close to them…when you’re snuggling on the couch or you’re laying on their lap. We bet you can even smell his scent.
No, we’re not talking about their stinky breath or what they smell like after they come home from the gym. We’re talking about their overall scent. Think about how it. Can you smell it? How do you feel now?
If you’re feeling a bit relaxed, you’re not imagining it. The new study found that our partner’s smell can actually help us feel less stressed.
The study, conducted by researchers at the American Psychological Association, took 96 women and randomly assigned them three different scents—that of their romantic partner, that of a stranger, and that of just a generic scent. They were then exposed to an acute stressor (Trier Social Stress Test) where perceived stress and cortisol were measured.
The result? You guessed it: Perceived stress was lowered in women who were assigned their partner’s scent. Amazing, huh?
What’s more, the study also found that the women who realized the scent they had were that of their partner’s were even less stressed. That’s probably why you find yourself sniffing a piece of your husband’s clothing when he’s out with the boys! (Or is that just us? No judgments here.)
On the contrary, cortisol levels were elevated in women who were exposed to a stranger’s scent. This means in order for the scent to distress you, it has to be the scent of a loved one—someone you’re familiar and comfortable with.|
“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,” concluded researchers of the study.
This was the first-ever study that showed how stress levels can be altered just from a mere scent. So what are you waiting for? Go give your partner one huge sniff—we mean it!
Did you know that the scent of your partner could play such a powerful role in your stress levels? Do you think you would be able to recognize the scent of your partner if you had to choose?