The Science Behind The Smell Of Fall

The Science Behind The Smell Of Fall

Cinnamon, campfires, and falling leaves all might remind you of this special season, but is there a science behind the scent of October?

Upon walking outside anytime near October, you might notice a distinct smell that will automatically bring up memories of carving pumpkins, warm blankets, and football games. While you might think you are the only one who really thinks that October has a smell, it is a fairly common idea. But is it really true? Looking to Yahoo and Facebook for answers, people seem to think it is just your brain associating smells with Halloween, and it depends on where you live.

People report that the scent of campfires, mud, cinnamon, and pumpkins typically remind them of this festive season. October is usually the month when winter starts to kick in, the mornings are cold and the leaves on trees begin to change to the beautiful red and yellow colors. I grew up in southern Texas, a place not particularly known for its cold weather, and while October wasn't always cold, it still had the distinct smell that I have known and loved, and it is the same smell that permeates the Indiana air that I now live in. The cool weather is not an event that happens nationwide, but does this October smell exist?

Upon further research on a meteorology forum, there is a distinct smell of snow; nitrogen dioxide, formaldehyde, nitric acid, dimethyl sulphide and sulphate and methanesulphonate to be exact. While it doesn't always snow in October, perhaps the cooling of the weather creates odorous chemicals. Olfactory scientist Pamela Dalton of Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia explains that odor molecules move more slowly in cold weather as opposed to the summer heat, and this could explain the reason behind the distinct smell of October. The part of our brain that deals with smells is the olfactory area and it is these olfactory receptors, Dalton explains, that bury themselves a little deeper in our noses. Could it be that the reason October has a smell is because we are actually not smelling the things we normally do at other times during the year?

On a hot summer day, smells seem to be amplified, if you walk past any dumpster in the middle of August you will notice the smell is much more horrible than the smell of a dumpster in January. So the colder air could be this link to the infamous October smell. A neurologist and psychiatrist, Alan Hirsch, explains that our trigeminal nerve, the one that makes you cry when you chop on onion, is stimulated by the cold air. So, while your olfactory senses are already changing, your trigeminal nerve is also being stimulated, creating the more intense smell that is common to the colder weather. Hirsch also added that there is a very strong psychological component to our sense of smell, which could also be influencing it. Furthermore, Hirsch explains that what we think something should smell like actually impacts how we smell that smell. So, some of this phenomenon might be in our heads, but it still doesn't change the fact that our brains associate this time of year with certain smells.

October and the colder air can smell differently for different people. No two people have the same brain, so that means that everyone's olfactory center isn't the same either. While pumpkin pie might smell amazing to one person, another can be repulsed by the scent of the festive gourd.

Regardless, October is the beginning of fall, the time of the year where you turn on your heater, keep your windows closed, eat hot food with rich spices and in turn, those spices fill up your house. While the fall weather can smell differently for a lot of people, the scent of cinnamon, the warm spices of a bowl of chili, the autumn leaves crunching under your feet are all smells that I associate with October. The smell of this season is up for debate, but I think everyone can agree that October has its own distinct smell that differs from the warm summer days. So make a cup of hot chocolate, sit on your front porch in the cool weather, and take a deep breath and appreciate the fact that you get to smell the beautiful smells of our Earth.

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13 Gross Things Girls Do That Boys Don't Know About

From a girl, about girls.

There's always talk about how gross boys are all the time, it's now time to talk about how gross maybe even how much more disgusting girls can be. It may not even be disgusting, but just weird, but we are girls. What can we say?

1. Gorilla legs.

It's not that we don't want to...okay, that was a lie. Every girl can agree that they only shave during bathing suit season when you're wearing a dress, or when you're gonna get it on. Basically, If she shaves her legs you're special.

2. When did I last wash this bra again?

We wear the same exact bra, for days, and weeks, and who knows for how long.

3. It's not just the bra's, it's the pants too.

We wear jeans and leggings like twenty times before we think about washing them.

4. We don't wash our hair every day.

Because unwashed hair is the best styling hair. Also because looking good takes too much work.

5. We are always picking at our faces, especially pimples.

As soon as we walk by a mirror, its a must. Car mirrors are awesome to pop those suckers and pluck rampant eyebrow hairs. We pop pimples like its our job.

6. We will live in your clothes.

If you somehow let your significant other or friend wear your sweatshirt you're never getting it back... and she's never taking it off. Girls will wear that sh*t until your scent is gone because we love it.

7. We poop.

Believe it or not... it happens to us too. Women don't make it as much as a show as boys do. We hide it from you and will hold it until you're not around. And you've probably received a lot of selfies on the toilet.

8. The dreaded monthly gift.

Probably the most disgusting thing to ever happen to the human body. But everyone knows about menstruating, but most guys don't understand the other things that come along with it, like the cramps that bring period farts and the nasty bowel movements and blood clots.

9. Finding hair from our head in our butt cheeks.

Yeah, it's a thing. Your head hair crawls it's way down there occasionally.

10. We smell ourselves a lot.

We are super conscious about how we smell...especially down there.

11. We let it fly.

We will hold in our farts from you, but as soon as we are alone... that's a different story. You better hope we don't get too comfortable around you too quick.

12. Sometimes we have to improvise.

Sometimes mother nature likes to come when we aren't ready, or prepared with the supplies. There are numerous occasions where we start bleeding and have to create this bundle of toilet paper and just shove it down there.

13. Looking at our panties and trying to figure out what came out.

Sometimes you just don't know for sure.

Cover Image Credit: Buzz Feed Blue

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The Truth About Realizing Your Fullest Potential

We have a responsibility to be all that we can be.

We are all inculcated early in our lives with beliefs that are foundational in nature, or core, both positive and negative. As core beliefs, these are so embedded into our psychic experience as to be difficult at best, to change. Positive core beliefs lead to a positive values system and pro-social behavior. These beliefs might include “I am a good person”, “hard work pays for itself in the long run”, “love conquers all,” or “knowledge is power.”

These positive core beliefs, when reinforced and reconfirmed through positive behaviors can result in a healthy and productive individual with an optimistic worldview. Negative core beliefs, conversely, may have an opposite effect. Beliefs including “I am a failure,” “I am stupid,” “everyone is out to get me,” or “I am unlovable” might result in behaviors that reaffirm these core beliefs.

Maladaptive, antisocial behavior and activity may affirm these negative core beliefs as the beliefs themselves create situations, circumstances and events that, along with like-minded individuals conspire to foster an atmosphere conducive to failure; a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy.

These negative core beliefs can often be easily identified through an examination of one's surface projection or behavior. The man who projects an outward aura of a hardened tough guy, puffing out his chest at every opportunity and loudly proclaiming his physical superiority in an effort to intimidate, might be said to be outwardly compensating for a core belief that he is a failed weakling. Often these negative core beliefs are unrecognized by the person possessing them having held them from the age of early childhood.

One's outward or surface projection may seem automatic and natural to them but to the knowledgeable observer constitutes an obvious compensation for feelings of inadequacy, self-loathing, despair or hopelessness. Witness the current resident of the Oval Office.

These surface projections are defense mechanisms then, simply expressed in an effort to cope with or to deny the horrible truth these underlying beliefs would reveal if brought out into the light of day. An effective treatment modality would comprise attempts to confront the surface behaviors “head on” and ask, “What kind of person, what belief system would produce such outward behavioral displays.”

This would be conducted in a group setting using the group collectively to bring pressure to bear on the issue at hand. Who better to confront one's own behavior than one’s peers who see much more and know the subject more intimately than any outsider?

By confronting the individual concerning the outwardly displayed behavior and with an adequate amount of pressure, an emotional catharsis may be brought to the fore, after the subject voices staunch denials and rebuttals, whereby the subject may reach a point of surrender and be open to suggestions therapeutic in nature.

At this point, the negative core belief would be challenged through a Socratic approach in a caring, calm, encouraging manner. For one whose core beliefs might include “I will always fail,” the question may be asked, “Show us the evidence that you will always fail? Have you always failed in the past? Have you known success in your life? Have you ever succeeded at a goal you set for yourself?” The subject will be left, ultimately, with no other option but to admit to having succeeded, at some point or with a particular goal, in life.

This is the beginning of the process for tearing down that deeply embedded negative core belief. This small crack in the foundation of this belief will ultimately lead to its complete usurpation.

By building on this first crack the individual would be asked to record instances, on a daily basis, where success offered the realization, no matter how small and seemingly inconsequential, of the achieved goal or desire. Further support could be offered in the form of evidentiary fact or anecdotal experience. For example, “failure must be embraced in order that one succeeds” or “failure is how one learns to succeed.”

It is evident then, that self-awareness plays a major role in changing a negative core belief. Our belief system can be hidden in such a way that gaining access to it can be a brutal process, one that demands rigorous honesty. Beliefs are the truths people hold on to and guide their lives by. These negative core beliefs can act as belief traps that prevent one from growing and learning emotionally and spiritually.

When we open our awareness to our strongest beliefs, beliefs that are positive in nature, we can discover who we truly want to become and why we behave in the manner we do. Additionally, new energy becomes available when core beliefs that are life-affirming, fulfilling and spiritually transforming are realized, reinforced and acted upon.

It is clear then, that beliefs can trap us in a life of turmoil and unfulfilled dreams, or they can set us free. Free to explore then world and ourselves in a manner that redefines what and who we truly are. And while negative core beliefs can’t simply be disposed of and replaced with a new belief, they can certainly be changed and replaced over time through the methods described above. This change must originate from a new perspective, grounded in awareness of the self. Honesty and responsibility play a foundational role here. Ownership of who we truly are at the core of our being, where the true self resides, is paramount.

The truth about each of us is clear and undeniable, we are worthy of unconditional love and realizing our full potential will result from the self being whole. It is our duty, to ourselves, to our family and friends, to our community and to the universe, to become all that we can become.

Cover Image Credit: Clifford Dolan

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