“All the trees are losing their leaves, and not one of them is worried.”
– Donald Miller

Hello, Fall. Fall is here in Maine which means cooler temperatures, pumpkin flavored everything, fuzzy socks, local fairs, and obligatory pictures of adorable littles picking apples. We watch as families settle back into a school routine, beach toys are put on the shelf in the garage until next summer, and Halloween costumes line the store aisles with their bright colors and spooky masks.

It is not only a beautiful and fun time of year… it is a time of year that benefits your health and improves your wellbeing. Here are a few examples of how fall benefits our minds and bodies:

There is a part of your brain, the “medial orbito frontal cortex” which is the part of your brain that contains your strongest thinking functions and your relaxation response center; this part of your brain responds well to experiencing beauty. Simply stepping outside, looking at the fall colors and leaves, may improve your mood and make you feel more relaxed. The more intense the perception of beauty.. the more activation of the area of the brain that houses your highest thinking centers… how amazing is that?!

Also, the brisk and cool air refreshes your skin, lungs, and your mental state. According to a study completed, crisp and cloudy weather clears your mind and boosts your memorization skills. Gloomy fall weather actually wakes up your mind, the study suggests. Step outside and take a deep breath in… and feel the crisp, fresh air in your lungs.

When you do come inside and “snuggle down” as we say in our home, take a few minutes to enjoy the scents of this fall season. Simply catching the scent of certain fall foods or spices may benefit your mood and brain. The scent of cinnamon, for example, has been shown to sharpen people’s minds according to one study. And peppermint, while mostly associated with December Holidays, is another powerful scent that may help boost energy and concentration.

In a way… the change of seasons is just another new beginning that withholds many health and mood benefits. It is up to you to see the beauty, smell the benefits, and embrace the change. Can you feel the beauty of fall in Maine?

– Jessica Smith, B.S.