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Feeling Stressed? Try Sniffing Your Romantic Partner’s Shirt

Feeling Stressed? Try Sniffing Your Romantic Partner’s Shirt

Publicado na HBS em 14/03/2018.

Attention business travelers: Reducing on-the-road stress might be as simple as tucking a loved one’s t-shirt into your suitcase, according to new research by Marlise Hofer, Hanne K. Collins, Ashley V. Whillans, and Frances S. Chen.

Are you anxious about an upcoming job interview, public speaking engagement, or any other high-pressure workplace situation? Here’s a weird but now scientifically-proven tip: Try taking a whiff of your sweetheart’s sweaty t-shirt.

A recent experimental study finds that the mere scent of a romantic partner can lower psychological and physiological stress levels, even when that partner isn’t physically present. Moreover, the scent of a stranger increases stress levels, according to the study, “Olfactory Cues from Romantic Partners Influence Women’s Responses to Stress,” published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

“Many people wear their partner’s shirt, or they sleep on their partner’s side of the bed when they’re away; I was interested in whether there was any benefit to those behaviors,” says Marlise Hofer, a PhD student in the department of psychology at the University of British Columbia. She co-authored the study with colleagues Hanne K. Collins, now a research associate at Harvard Business School; Ashley V. Whillans, now an assistant professor in the Negotiations, Organizations, and Markets Unit at HBS; and Frances S. Chen, an assistant professor at UBC.

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