I love animals and I know they love me. So, whenever I come in contact with dogs, cats or whatever animal it is, we invariably have a very pleasant experience. All they smell about me are my scents of love, joy and happiness.
On the other hand, some people are fearful of interacting with animals and the thought alone of the interaction creates a high level of stress for these individuals. The high stress causes the affected individual to release “fear pheromones” in their sweat.
Recently, I was speaking in the US, and spent six days holidaying with special friends at their beautiful holiday home at Newport Beach in California. On my arrival, their dog, Telly, was barking full on and she was very ‘stand offish’ as I was an intruder. Within a few hours, Telly and I were great mates. My friends commented that they had not seen their dog ‘warm up’ to a stranger so quickly. It normally takes her days or weeks to feel comfortable with a new willing person.
In an instant, animals register pheromones that are given off by other animals. Humans are, of course, in the other animals category.
Researchers at the Rockefeller University discovered that humans have the ability to distinguish over one trillion different smells. Their research was published in the journal Science. They said that those at the lower end of the smell spectrum are thought to be capable of smelling about eighty million unique scents, but if they are a super-sniffer, they can detect a spectacular one thousand trillion scents.
In the past it was thought that humans did not produce (or sense) pheromones, however many scent scientists now believe that this past belief is not correct. A study at New York’s Stony Brook University found people who are scared do indeed give off “fear pheromones” in their sweat. These hormones trigger parts of your brain that are subconsciously associated with fear. They believe this explains why an individual with a fear of flying can trigger anxiety in other passengers who would not normally be afraid. The fear pheromone can trigger similar emotions in others who happen to catch a whiff. The same researchers also found that disgust can be contagious.
Olfactory (smell) information is stored or encoded with all sorts of memories and associations in your brain.
All of your feelings, positive or negative, create physiological changes. Your breathing, your hormone secretion, digestion, skin, heart rate, digestion, and muscle energy levels change with every emotion.
So, remember, whenever you are feeling stressed, you are silently giving off your very own stress scent or pheromones.
By Dr John Hinwood
for the Stress to Strength team