Are you stressed from money problems or work issues? Do you want an instant method of reducing your stress levels? Well, if you answered Yes, go smell your partner’s clothes. No, we are not making fun of you, since there is new scientific evidence that proves that smelling the scent of your partner can reduce stress levels. Let’s take a look at this interesting news as well as discuss a few topics regarding stress, like the leading causes and different ways of relieving yourself of stress.
New Research Into Stress And A Partner’s Scent
A study from the University of British Columbia conducted a test where it was found that women reacted differently to the scent of their partner when compared to a stranger. The study went like this:
- 96 men were asked to wear a white T-shirt for 24 hours straight
- The female partners were asked to take stress tests to increase their stress levels.
- The females were given either their partner’s T-shirt, a stranger’s T-shirt or an unused T-shirt to smell.
- The researcher, Marisa Hofer, a psychology graduate student at UBC, recorded the stress readings of the females throughout the study.
The results were very encouraging when considering the link between stress and scent because their partner’s scent caused the women to experience a reduction in stress levels while the stranger’s scent caused an increase in cortisol. This rise in cortisol is attributed to the body’s fight or flight response.
Now that we have learned something new and exciting, lets better understand Stress and how to deal with this often disruptive emotion.
What Is Stress?
Stress activates when the body feels that it’s in danger or under attack, activating your fight or flight mode while releasing a cocktail of chemicals and hormones. Some of these include cortisol, adrenaline as well as norepinephrine which optimizes your body to fight the danger or escape with your life.
The process when stress is activated is interesting as many unnecessary functions like digestion are stopped, and more energy and blood is pumped to survival-essential body parts like your muscles, increasing the available energy and strength.
The Modes Of Fight Or Flight …. Or Freeze?
Here are the different responses to stress:
- Fight: As your body gets stressed, one of the responses we can have is the fight response which causes an increase in aggressiveness or agitation towards the source of stress or those around us. While this is helpful when dealing with predators, this is not a good thing when dealing with work peers or family members. This is often the reason many people have relationship problems as they project their stress onto others.
- Flight: Evolution has designed the flight response for when you are in a situation that you can’t fight and win or when retreating is the best option. This is a self-preservation response people have that can help dealing with a volatile situation but can cause personal problems if your response is seen as cowardice or timidity. This can also escalate your stress levels if you realize that your flight response was insufficient to get away from the cause of your stress.
- Freeze: Is a less known response to stress which makes you freeze. This happens when the energy that your body produces for the fight or flight response gets stuck in the nervous system. Some people can even forget to breathe when they freeze up with short, shallow breaths are also a symptom of freezing.
The Types Of Stress
Here are three types of stress:
- Acute Stress: Is the most common stress which is caused when you think of an approaching deadline (for a work project or school assignment) or a stressful event that happened recently (like a death in the family). Acute stress exhibits itself as an upset stomach, moderate distress or tension headaches.
- Episodic Acute Stress: Occurs when someone who has acute stress frequently. This is usually caused when dealing with a long list of things to do or if someone has not organized themselves and is falling behind on their commitments. These people can become tense, irritable and be at greater risk of high blood pressure and heart problems later on in life.
- Chronic Stress: Is the most severe and dangerous type of stress which happens over an extended period like money problems, an unhappy relationship or an unstable family. This is often activated when there seems to be no solution to a problem or situation where the person gives up in trying to find a solution. People can have chronic stress become a part of their personality which can lead to a final breakdown which can result in stroke, heart attack, violence, and even suicide.
Most Common Causes Of Stress
Here are five common causes of stress:
- Money: Is the most common cause of stress today in an increasingly competitive world and growing responsibilities. This, along with an insatiable need for money to sustain our lives cause stress in almost everyone.
- Friends And Family: When circumstances and relationships dictate that you give more than your capacity, you can feel overwhelmed and stressed.
- Health Issues: Can cause severe stress as physical problems and pain become a burden as well as unwanted disruption to your already stressful life. Stress has also shown to cause health issues and vice versa.
- Major Life Events: When life throws a curve ball like pregnancy, divorce or marriage, the responsibilities or expectations can cause stress in many people.
- Work: Can be very stressful when you are afraid of being fired or have to deal with an impossible boss that asks for impossible demands of you. Being overworked and even becoming bored of your job can be indicators of a bad work environment or job.
Scientifically Proven Methods Of Reducing Stress
Here are 20 scientifically proven methods of reducing stress:
- Learn to meditate
- Try doing some arts and crafts
- Try your hand at self-hypnosis
- Consider religion as a stress reliever
- Enjoy some of your favorite music
- Get a soothing massage
- Progressive relaxation
- Take a relaxing nap
- Walk around in nature
- Start a journal
- Play with your pet
- Talk to your partner about sex
- Take deep breaths
- Give someone a hug
- Try laughing and smiling
- Kiss your partner
- Workout and exercise
- Try aromatherapy
- Drink black tea
- Try doing some yoga
Final Word About Stress
Talking and reading about stress can be…well… stressful. So, here are a few words to finish up this article on the subject.
It’s good that you are taking a look at what stress is about and how to combat it. You should also remember that it’s perfectly okay for you to talk to your doctor or therapist about your stress. This problem is something most of us have, albeit in different severities. But this doesn’t mean that you should ignore your causes of stress and hope they go away.