Everyone loves autumn leaves, but how do they really affect us physically and mentally? Learn the reasons behind our strong emotions regarding fall foliage and why people can’t stop talking about them!
1. Pushes the Mind to Start Taking on New Challenges
Ever since we were babies, bright visual contrasts have been a strong signal for us. In fact, changing colors trigger the brain to respond accordingly.
This explains why we associate certain colors with specific actions and emotions. For example, the color red triggers a feeling of urgency, while the color blue represents trust, peace, and calmness.
The human brain interprets change as a signal of something new.
For example, when you’re listening to singers or musicians playing a quiet piece, you instantly get alerted if there’s even a slight change in the melody. This happens more so if they suddenly play a loud booming sound during the song.
Now, the fall season is filled with heavy visual contrasts. That’s why a lot of people associate the changing colors of the tree leaves with the start of fall and the end of summer. In fact, you don’t even have to look at a calendar to know it’s the start of fall.
After becoming aware of the brain’s response toward the sudden change in colors and contrasts, you can use this stimulus to push yourself into trying something new.
It doesn’t have to be hard or life-changing. It can be something as simple such as waking up earlier or making healthier food choices.
Whatever the case, your goal should be to use the effects of autumn colors to become a well-rounded individual by taking on new, exciting challenges.
2. Alleviates Stress
Everybody deals with stress on a daily basis. Stressful situations happen, and there’s really no way to stop all of them. What you can do is learn how to react positively to them.
For example, if your kid spills some coffee on you, it doesn’t make sense to spend the whole day mad about it. If you take a deep breath and calm down, the negative emotions go away.
If you’re struggling with anxiety and stress from various aspects of your life, you can’t just throw all your responsibilities out the window. What you need to do is ease the tension.
This fall season, allow the beautiful red, orange, and yellow leaves scattered around town to reduce your stress. The heavy change in colors stimulates the brain and triggers positive emotions.
Even if you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, you’ll still be able to smile like you don’t have a care in the world.
The best thing to do is to take advantage of these positive emotions and use them to calm yourself down. You’ll find it’s much easier to solve problems and issues with a level head than a stressed out one.
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3. Strengthens Connections & Builds Traditions with Loved Ones
With the dawn of fall comes the undressing of the beautiful, majestic trees around us. And what better way to celebrate this wonderful miracle of life than by collecting the falling leaves from the strong, proud trees that stand around us?
This is a wonderful, family-friendly activity you can try with your kids, spouse, lover, parents, or even by yourself. Just grab a basket, head on outside, and collect the most eye-catching leaves you find in your garden or backyard.
What makes this activity so great is you can do whatever you want with the leaves. Use them as a bookmark, paste them on a greeting card, or create a sun-catcher consisting of leaves. They’ll serve as a keepsake to remind you of all the fun you had this fall. Even better, you can make it a regular tradition that you do with your family or friends each fall. Traditions are an amazing way to build strong and lasting connections with those we love most.
4. Triggers Nostalgia
Falling autumn leaves are often associated with a strong emotion linked to the memories of one’s childhood.
It could be about past Halloweens you went trick-or-treating, went biking through the trees and shrubs, or dived into a pool of fallen leaves while collecting the ones that were still drifting down. Whatever the case, we all have at least one fond memory or experience we hold dear, whether you’re aware of it or not.
Now, these emotions are so strong that they rekindle at the dawn of the season.
For some, it’s so strong that they get excited at the mere sight of the autumn trees changing color. While for others, it may not be as strong, but the bright fall colors of yellow and red leaves still spark some sort of emotion within them.
How exactly does this affect you? Now that you’re aware of the effects of autumn leaves and how it triggers nostalgia, you can stimulate these emotions on purpose.
Go for a walk through some familiar trees and plants, start listening to jazz music you can associate with the fall season, go pumpkin or apple picking, or you can simply sit in your backyard and watch the seasons turn.
Keep in mind that this season may not always spark joy. If you have strong, negative emotions linked to the fall season, these might overpower your more joyous ones.
What you can do is gain control and let these emotions flow through you. Once they’ve passed, train your mind to associate the fall season with a happier and gleeful experience.
5. Humbles the Proud and Inspires the Creative
The season of fall showcases the miraculous cycle of life and death. With each falling leaf, you witness the change of nature and how everything is actually living in its own way.
Observing something as common as the autumn maple leaves turning from green to brown brings a sense of overwhelm, which both humbles and inspires the mind. You become more aware of your surroundings and your self-centered, greedy thoughts start to disappear.
On top of helping you feel more confident and secure while keeping your arrogance and pride in check, the season can also help you learn how to deal with your problems. You realize things happen for a reason, and there’s always a solution to every problem.
Hopefully, you can retain these thoughts throughout the year. They are very effective if you apply them to various aspects of your life, such as work, family, money, and love.
6. Exercising Becomes Easier
People find it much easier to get out and get moving when the weather is so nice and cool. Some fun activities to try include jogging in the park (try barefoot running through the crisp fallen leaves!), hiking in the mountains, and playing sports.
Another great exercise to do in the fall is to enjoy the leaves on a scenic bike ride. Biking is a full-body workout with low impact that’s great for people of all ages. Cycling works your respiratory system and muscles while being relatively easy on the bones. It’s also good for your immune system, heart, and mental health.
You could also enjoy the fall foliage and weather by doing some Qigong meditation or yoga. Qigong exercises are a good way to get rid of stress, provide pain relief, and help with symptoms of depression and anxiety. It can also give a boost to your immune system and just be a fun way to try something new with the coming of a new season.
Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to these examples. Feel free to do whatever physical activity you’re comfortable with.
These are just some of the physical and mental health benefits of fall and how the mere presence of colorful leaves during the autumn scene can change the way a person thinks, acts, and looks. The best thing to do is to maximize these responses and channel them toward positivity.
Use your newfound energy to do something productive like work out, finish some chores, read a new book, or try a new hobby. Similarly, you can just enjoy these emotions while you bask in the beauty of the fall season.
The sky’s the limit, and it’s up to you how you spend this wonderful time of the year!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on September 12, 2019, and has been updated for quality and relevancy on October 26, 2021.