(HealthyResearch.com) – There’s something beautiful about every season, but autumn has a particularly special way of appealing to the senses. The cool air, the vibrant hues of red, orange and yellow filling the trees and the sound and smell of a crackling fire in the hearth can paint a cozy image. Sitting around a perfectly stoked fire often creates a sort of magic that can feel worth the diminishing summer heat.
Fire is hypnotic, and it has likely entranced humans from the time we first understood its power. It captures the senses, calms the mind and soothes the spirit. In the right setting, it might even lower blood pressure.
Our History With Fire
A look at early human history shows mankind has long revered fire for its calming properties. The Egyptians, for example, believed fire was an “effective weapon against… nightmares and other nocturnal agents of chaos.” Even now, we light candles as a sign of holding vigil — a sign of hope and peace.
Researchers at the Department of Anthropology, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa set out to study fire’s full impacts on our psyche. According to a study the group published in Evolutionary Psychology, humans are naturally hardwired to find controlled fires mesmerizing and soothing. Who’s never been engrossed by the beauty of a rousing campfire or hearth? Turns out sitting by the fire could be akin to a form of meditation.
Effects on the Mind and Body
According to the study, we may have developed a sense of security around fire due to the protection, heat and light it offered our early ancestors. Fire also created social hubs, places for tribes to congregate and interact. Because of everything it offered early humans and all it’s done for us through the ages, it makes sense that fire would still have some kind of emotional impact on people today.
Researchers found that just the sight and sound of a crackling fire, even a simulated one on a screen, could calm the watchers’ nerves. Even more, many participants saw a notable decrease in blood pressure after watching the simulations. A similar effect may be why campfire and hearth autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) videos are so popular on YouTube and similar platforms.
The movement of the fire is enchanting, and the sound of it popping and crackling is nothing short of delightful. It really does offer a sense of calm and physical relaxation that words alone can’t describe. For some people, that may also mean a lowered blood pressure reading.
Fire is a part of human history, having shaped our very experience through every step of the ages. With all that we’ve used it for, our connection is only natural. So, welcome the chill in the air, inspect and clean the chimney, or ready the fire pit. It’s time to calm both body and spirit in the glow of a cozy, soothing fire, just like our ancestors did all those hundreds of thousands of years ago.
~Here’s to Your Health & Safety!
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