Partner's Odor May Ease Off Woman's Anxiety

There are some proven ways to beat the stress and we all try to abide by them to keep it at bay. But did you know that even a partner's scent can ease off a woman's stress levels to a great extent? A recent study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, tried to establish a link between stress in women and odor from others.

As women are more prone to getting stressed than men, they feel calmer when exposed to their partner's smell, the study concluded. On the contrary, being exposed to a stranger's scent increased the production of stress hormone cortisol, thereby increasing the stress levels.

Lead author Marlise Hofer, a student in the department of psychology in University of British Columbia (UBC), shared that a lot of women wear their partner's scent or sleep on his side of the bed in his absence unknowingly. They indulge in these activities as they feel relaxed when they smell their partner's odor. "Our findings suggest that a partner's scent alone, even without their physical presence, can be a powerful tool to help reduce stress," she added.

The authors recruited 96 opposite sex pairs for the study. Men were provided with a clean T-shirt and were asked to wear it for 24 hours. They were asked to refrain from using any fragrance and avoid smoking and eating stuff that could affect their natural odor. The T-shirts were later frozen to preserve their smell.

Women were then randomly assigned to smell a T-shirt. They were not told which one belonged to their partner. They then underwent a stress mock interview and mental math test. They were also questioned about the stress levels and their saliva samples were collected to analyze cortisol levels.

The authors found that women who smelled their partners' shirts felt calmer before and after the stress test. Those who smelled and identified the scent experienced lower levels of cortisol suggesting that stress alleviation is maximum when a woman knew whose shirt she was smelling. On the other hand, women who smelled strangers' shirts had higher cortisol levels throughout the test.

This was backed up with scientific evidence that humans fear strangers, which ignite the fight-or-flight response leading to stress. "This could happen without us being fully aware of it," added Hofer. The authors reported that these findings could be helpful in alleviating stress levels in a woman when her partner is away.

Tips to de-stress and ease anxiety

Stress impacts love relationships in a tremendous way. Since it's such a vital part of daily life, partners tend to ignore the warning signs. But ignorance adds fuel to the fire. It begins to show in emotions, thoughts and actions, and leads to quarrels, frustration and anger.

Prolonged stress can lead to depression, widening the distance between two people in love. Therefore, it is important to discuss the matter and look for realistic solutions. Here are some tips for partners to deal with overwhelming stress and keep the love ignited:

Anxiety can be treated

Living with anxiety can get arduous for a person and his/her loved ones as it interferes with day-to-day functioning and affects relationships, career and social engagements. If self-help strategies do not work, one must approach a mental health therapist and get the required treatment.