In the fall season, do you tend to feel happier? Here’s what’s going on, according to psychology professor Dr. Jason Brunt from Biola University.

First, your brain is more ALERT in fall than any other time of year! Because where winter is mostly white and snowy - and spring and summer are dominated by green - fall brings a burst of vibrant yellow, orange and red shades in nature. And Dr. Brunt says our brain interprets the visual contrast as something “significant.” Like a loud noise in a quiet room. It wakes us up mentally.

Then, fall foliage can also fight stress! According to the University of Washington, stressed out people who gazed at trees with brightly-colored fall foliage had a significant drop in heart rate and stress hormones. Plus, focusing on the changing colors of the leaves can be an exercise in mindfulness - which relaxes us, too.

And when the temperature drops, we have less anxiety. Hot and humid weather increases our heart rate, breathing rate, and other metabolic reactions. And our brain can interpret that as an anxiety attack. So in fall, we feel calmer.

That’s why Dr. Brunt says, autumn activates our brain in a way that makes us feel happier… calmer… and more connected to nature!