September is finally here and it seems almost overnight our favorite coffee shops rolled out the pumpkin, storefronts shifted to sweater-centered displays and our social media feeds became inundated with Halloween-themed posts. So, can we officially call it the start of fall?
While summer lovers may be quick to point out that autumn doesn’t technically start until September 22, there’s psychological evidence that jumping into a new season can be beneficial for your mental health. So if you’re ready to pull out the tote bin full of scarecrows and pumpkin-scented candles, share this one with your friends. Turns out, science may actually be on your side!
Fall Colors Are Emotionally Stimulating.
When you think of fall colors, do reds, oranges and browns typically come to mind? The cool thing about changing the color of decor in your home is it actually affects your brain’s perception of the space. This is known as color therapy, or chromotherapy, and has been historically recorded as far back as ancient Egypt. The idea is by incorporating specific colors into a space, it will naturally make your mind think of a feeling associated with it. For example, light pinks or pastels usually correlate with the feeling of calm.
The tricky part is not everyone has the same reaction to a specific color. You might see red and think “confidence,” while someone else may see red and think “aggression.” If you’re a fall lover, chances are you’re probably familiar with the traditional reactions to these color palettes. Check out the psychology behind some fall colors below.
- Red: The color of confidence, it creates excitement and brings to mind passion, energy and courage.
- Brown: Brown represents earth, security and contentment. It gives a sense of simplicity and comfort.
- Orange: Orange symbolizes balance, warmth, enthusiasm, vibrancy, and demands attention.
- Yellow: Yellow represents happiness, optimism and inspiration.
Retail Therapy is Actually Real.
Are the fall sections at Target and Homegoods calling to you? It may be time to pick up the phone! Research actually shows shopping can be beneficial for your mental health. In a study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology in 2014, researchers found that shopping helped reduce the feeling of residual or lingering sadness and gave shoppers a sense of control.
“Making shopping choices helped alleviate sadness whether they were hypothetical or real,” the study reports. “In addition, all experiments found support for the underlying mechanism of personal control restoration.”
A separate study from that year, published by the University of Michigan, found similar results. When shoppers purchased things they personally enjoyed, they experienced a sense of control over 40 times more effective than when not shopping.
The takeaway here is if you’re feeling a lack of control or are in a space of lingering sadness, treating yourself to some new fall decorations may actually be the push you need to get into a better headspace.
Decorating Is Nostalgic.
The truth of the matter is so many people like decorating early for holidays because it strikes a warm sense of nostalgia. Experts have gathered around to chat about why some people’s love for fall is so strong, and it’s hypothesized having something to look forward to, like associating fall with family time holidays, pumpkin spice and gorgeous foliage is a powerful psychological tool.
Other psychologists say that having something reliable, like decorating for a changing season or holidays, creates a safe space (and once again, that feeling of control).
If You Want to Decorate, It’s Time to Decorate.
The moral of the story: if you’re feeling an inclination to jump into fall, it’s actually totally healthy for you to do it. So if you’re a fall lover, pursuing those rituals of shopping for your favorite goodies, pulling out the traditional decor and even sipping on your pumpkin spice latte can help you find more comfort, control and happiness in your home.