Did you know smell is one of our strongest memory inducers? It’s true. Think about it. Have you ever had a scent tickle your olfactory and find yourself transported back to high school in an instant? Or caught the whiff of a passing aroma that reminded you of your spouse…or a grandparent? (Not that your spouse smell like your grandparent…I mean, it’s ok if they do…but…oh, it’s just an example….You know what I mean.) Do you remember the smell of your grandparent’s home? (Whew, good save?) Scents hold our memories securely in their aura. They do more than trigger memories. Scents can also lower stress. A recent study from the University of British Columbia found the scent of our “romantic partner” helps lower stress. They randomly assigned women involved in opposite sex relationships to one of three groups. The women in one group wore a T-shirt previously worn by a stranger. Those in the second group wore a T-shirt previously unworn and those in the third group wore a T-shirt previously worn by their husbands. None of the women knew which group they were in. All the women then went through a stressful mock interview and completed a stressful mental math task. Results?
- Those who wore a shirt exuding a stranger’s scent were the most stressed and had the highest levels of cortisol (stress hormone).
- Those who wore the shirt releasing their husband’s scent had the lowest stress level and lowest cortisol levels.
- If the women recognized their husband’s scent on the shirt, their cortisol levels were even lower, suggesting that the stress-reducing benefits of their husband’s scent was strongest when they recognized his “aromatic essence.”
With this in mind, you can use the power of smell to enhance your marriage. For instance, the scent of your spouse can trigger positive memories when you wear your spouse’s favorite perfume or after shave on a date.
If your spouse is away on a trip, take a whiff of his/her shirt. It may ease the longings and reduce the stress of missing them. (Just hope you don’t find the same disheartening result as Ty Burrell in the Gain commercial.)
When you have a particularly stressful event, take a moment to recall your spouse…and their aroma. You might just experience a reduction in stress.
Oh the power of a scent! Enjoy the aromatic aura of your spouse…and enjoy less stress.