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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Why I Stopped Reading The News

Cutting the news out of your life will most likely help you.

The news is depressing. Politics is a joke and nothing good is happening across the globe, or at least nothing good is showing up in the news. As a student, life consists of studying and late nights. Before, I would make time (usually when I wanted to procrastinate) to check the news and keep myself updated on the news. Now, I will occasionally read the news, but social media usually keeps me updated on the big events. Yes, it's good to keep yourself updated on current events, but when the news is actually effecting your mental state, you should take a break and focus on yourself.

I stopped reading the news because it made me sadder to know that so many innocent people were hurt across the world and sixteen year old me couldn't really do much to help them. I was already so stressed from school and the news would add to that stress, that I decided to cut it out of my life. The world sucks and it's even suckier that you can't do a thing to help people across the world. My mom tells me that it's normal to feel sad about current events because it shows that you still have that humanity in you. But she also says to balance how much you look at the news to stay mentally healthy, and for me, that balance was to stop looking at the news. On top of that, you can't completely trust any news source completely because sometimes, you never know the true story.

You might say that it's "selfish" that I care about my mental health and that I "don't care about humanity" because I don't look at the news. Or maybe that I am "ignorant" and I'm just making excuses because some news sources are completely true. But I won't care because I am taking care of my mental health, and in order for me to make an impact on the world and help others, I need to make myself stronger first.

Instead of reading the news and wallowing in my self-pity about how I couldn't help anyone, I took that time to improve my own lifestyle. I started focusing on what I could do to help myself be a better a person, then on what I could do to help others. I started helping out with service projects and started my orientation for volunteering at the local hospital. I am slowly making changes to my life to make myself better so I can help others. If I was still checking the news daily like I used to, I wouldn't have gotten the motivation to make these changes or try to be a better person.

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11 Calming Ways For The Busy College Girl To Eliminate Stress

It's important to de-stress yourself on the daily.

For the busy college girl, diving back into the reality of school, work, and other activities are sure to cause some extra stress in your life, which is why it's important to de-stress yourself on the daily. By actively taking part in these 11 things, you're sure to be putting your best foot forward, and feeling a whole lot better while doing so!

1. Draw yourself a bath.

Buy yourself a bath bomb and draw yourself a nice hot bath after a long day.

2. Bake something.

If you like to bake, this will be a breeze for you. If you don't, challenge yourself to try something new and create something yummy.

3. Paint your nails.

Painting your nails requires a sense of patience that is sure to calm you down.

4. Cross some items off your to-do list.

Nothing will eliminate stress more than accomplishing the tasks which are causing your stress. Take time to work on your lists and get it done!

5. Hit the gym.

Take out your frustrations and stressors by hitting the treadmill.

6. Change up your hairstyle.

When a girl changes up her hair, she's up to something. Give yourself a fresh look and you'll feel good as new.

7. Use an essential oil diffuser.

Lavender is one of my personal favorites and it helps promote a great night sleep!

8. Treat yourself to a dinner out.

Take yourself out for a nice meal with your girls, family, or S/O.

9. Take a yoga class.

Most colleges offer classes through the campus recreational center or check out your local YMCA.

10. Turn off your phone for a few hours.

Start alleviating stress by taking away social media for a little while.

11. Get a good night's sleep.

And you'll be ready for a brand new day when you wake up.

Start taking time for yourself, and you'll feel better than ever and (almost) stress-free!

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