Fresh air is a gift. Free and readily available; It makes me happy. And there’s a scientific reason, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
I’m not picky when it comes to the conditions in which I receive fresh air. It can be warm summer air, salty sea air, damp air offered during a gentle rain, or air on a crisp December morning, like today. Christmas morning air. Fresh. Cool. Free. (Who doesn’t like free things?)
Indoor spaces have their places!
I get the comforts of home concept. An inviting chair in a living room decorated with a festive tree. Crackling fire. Slippers. Warm. They have their place in my life for sure. A cozy bed. A reading nook. A festive table set for a group that offers lively conversation.
But if I’m being honest, I think outdoor spaces that offer a fresh airflow are better than vented heat. This Christmas morning, I took my dog for a walk while it was still very early and very dark. I checked the temperature. It was almost 20 degrees outside. It was invigorating. I stepped out of the front door, down concrete stairs, and into a snow-covered yard. Deep breath. Ah…
As is my habit (whenever possible) I decided to have my morning coffee outside. The stoop was clear of snow and I brought a blanket. All the stars were out in a clear, black sky. My dog sniffed around the trees and I sat, enjoying a fresh, early gift of air. Good morning, world!
Cold and warm smells differ!
Cold air smells different from warm air. It is often dry. When snow is in the forecast, the air feels a little humid. Before snow the pressure in the atmosphere changes and the scent is noticeable. It’s not imagined. The cause isn’t a more intense odor during cold and snow events, it is a lack of other smells. Less competition.
Warm things offer more odors than cold things. Consider food. If you take cold, leftover spaghetti out of the fridge and smell it, it offers a hint of smell that is pleasant. Yep, it’s still good. Then, you heat it up. The smell molecules speed up with heat and throw off intense fragrance of tomato and oregano. Much more aroma than the cold spaghetti. Yum!
The same thing happens outside. Cold air offers a hint of smell whereas warm air presents a contest between everything throwing off odors. The earth, plants, animals… Warm days present a concoction of smells. There’s a lot of competition and identifying what you are smelling becomes more complicated. Cold days bring a smaller offering. Instead of the olfactory nerve being inundated with aromas, there are less things to sense.
Happiness wrapped in science!
Spending time outdoors helps boost your mood. The scientific reason fresh air makes me (and you) happy is this: it provides the brain with more oxygen. Enter higher serotonin levels. Hence, more oxygen to boost your mood, resulting in a lower stress level and increased happiness.
A cup of hot coffee on a chilly morning, wrapped in a blanket, is a favorite way to start my day. Crispy, hint of snow smelling air. And I love it! This morning, I considered it my first Christmas Day gift.
Go outside and get your happy on! Fresh air is nature’s gift.