Ever get the feeling you’re just happier during autumn?
You’re not alone.
According to a survey of 2,000 Americans, 56 percent said they were happier in autumn than any other time of year — and this was conducted in the middle of the pandemic.
At surface level, it seems counterintuitive. How does autumn compete with spring or summer?
It’s cold — often rainy — and it reminds us that winter is coming. We have to go back to boring school or our boring jobs after a much-needed vacation. Also, because of the holidays and traveling, money is often tight.
There are upsides, for sure.
The cool, crisp air; the food and drinks; in America and Canada, Thanksgiving — also in America and Canada, football and hockey seasons.
Traditional autumn fashion is also better than the stuff people wear at other times of the year.
Then, there are the leaves.
Growing up in Florida, that didn’t mean much. Leaves turned from bright green in September to a boring brown by November.
In most places, though, autumn produces something on this spectrum:
Some believe people like autumn more than other seasons because it represents predictable change — almost like a second January. The changing natural world is an experienced inevitability. Unlike physical aging, we know it’s only temporary.
Other experts believe people like autumn because it gets them back into a fresh routine. Most kids enjoy school more right after coming back from summer vacation.
That brings us to a third reason experts claim people like autumn: conditioning.
Nostalgia plays a role here. Even if we didn’t take a vacation, the memory of past autumns — the reminder of good times when we were young and in school — makes us wish this season would never end.
Kathryn Lively, professor of sociology at Dartmouth, told The Huffington Post:
We’re conditioned from a very early age that the autumn comes with all these exciting things. As children, we come to associate fall with going back to school, new school…