University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
RELIEVE STRESS WITH
Leonard Perry, Extension Professor
University of Vermont
you're feeling stress from too much work, or no job, too hectic a schedule, the
world economic crisis or even your own, turn to buds not bottles. University research has linked flowers to
happiness, creativity, compassion, and tranquility. Flowers and plants provide emotional and
behavioral benefits, in addition to their aesthetic and environmental benefits.
study at Rutgers University, published in the April 2005
issue of Evolutionary Psychology, reveals that flowers improve emotional
health. It showed that people can manage
their daily moods by healthy and natural means, and that flowers trigger happy
emotions, a feeling of life satisfaction, and positive social behavior beyond what
most believe. No matter the age group,
all participants in the study show immediate happiness on receiving
flowers. They felt less depressed after
getting flowers, were less anxious or agitated, and showed a higher level of
life satisfaction. Female participants
reported these positive feelings lasted for days. Flowers led to increased intimacy with family
and friends in this study.
the giver side, in a related study at Rutgers
by Dr. Haviland-Jones, both men and women who gave flowers were perceived as
happy, achieving, strong, capable, and courageous people. They came across as more emotionally
intelligent. Female floral givers were
seen as more appreciative of beauty and nature.
you feel happy receiving flowers, do they keep on helping in the home? A study from
Harvard University Medical School by Dr. Nancy Etcoff focused on the "home
flowers-- the effects of flowers in the home on
personal well-being. With flowers in the
home for less than a week, she found that participants felt more compassion towards
others, had less worry and anxiety, and felt less depressed. Just a few days of flowers at home made
people more positive, and all these effects carried over into work as well.
the Harvard study, people wanted flowers placed so they could be seen right off
"down" in the morning is common with many, the more positive moods of
happiness and friendliness for example being seen later in the day. Seeing flowers in the morning, often in the
kitchen, can jumpstart these positive moods.
only do flowers promote positive attitudes that carry forward into the
workplace, but also flowers promote innovation and creative ideas, according to
a study at Texas A&M. The lead
researcher, Dr. Roger Ulrich, said this increased productivity could mean the
difference between mild and great business success. While men in the study generated more ideas
in the presence of flowers and plants, women generated more creative and
flexible solutions in their presence.
behavioral study at Harvard on the workplace focused on employee commitment and
productivity, two key factors for business success. "Productivity is largely affected by the
quality of human relationships including cooperative, social group moods, and
interaction." Using flowers and
plants to engender positive behavior of happiness, compassion, and friendliness
is one means to improve productivity.
a study at Rutgers in 2000, showing that
flowers cause greater happiness and life satisfaction in women, a study in 2001
showed that flowers boost seniors' well being.
As more in our population age, more challenges come with this. The Rutgers
study showed that flowers counteract at least three advanced age
challenges-- easing depression, inspiring social
networking, and refreshing memory. According to Dr. Haviland-Jones, "Our
research shows that a small dose of nature, like flowers, can do a world of
wonder for our well-being as we age."
This researcher goes on to state, "Happier people live longer,
healthier lives and are more open to change."
on the positive power of flowers can be found on the website of the Society of
American Florists (www.aboutflowers.com).
Also on this website are specific tips by interior designer Jayme
Barrett on using flowers for serenity, inspiration, wellness, gratitude, love,
and optimism. For each mood she suggests
an appropriate color combination, vase style, placement in the home, and flower
varieties-- all factors your might consider when giving or receiving flowers, or
when designing your own arrangements.
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