With winter and the holidays fast approaching, it’s easy to forget to take a moment to breathe and relieve stress trapped in the body. If you find yourself looking for a simple way to reduce anxiety, give flowers a chance to brighten your perspective. In 2005, Rutgers University conducted a study on the effects of flowers on our mental hygiene. Across all ages and genders, flowers were found to improve emotional health by triggering feelings of happiness, satisfaction, and social comfortability.
The easiest way to reap the benefits of flowers is to simply place them in your home. The results of a study conducted by Dr. Nancy Etcoff at Harvard suggest placing flowers by your bedside, so they’re the first thing you see when you wake up and start the day. Participants reported having a better outlook throughout the morning after placing flowers throughout the house as they went about their morning routines. Placing flowers in the foyer or dining room welcomes guests into your home with a burst of positivity and inclusivity.
The same study looked at flowers’ impact on work flow and productivity, with positive results reported by both men and women working in office environments. Flowers and plants can stimulate us to have more creative ideas, to cooperate more effectively in group projects, and engender us with a sense of joy and ease.
Giving and receiving flowers is another great way to improve the emotional health of both giver and recipient. While we often don’t think to give flowers to men, men in particular proved to react positively to receiving flowers in a Rutgers study, displaying an increase in eye contact, social patience, and smiling. Who knew!
Besides placing flowers throughout the home, there are many ways to indulge in the power of petals. Adding a few drops of floral essential oils to a spray bottle of water is a quick way to infuse your home with sweet, therapeutic smells. Jasmine, Rose, Lavender, and Chamomile are well-known combatants of stress and anxiety. Sprinkling rose petals into a hot bath can also boost relaxation — the paler the petals, the better.
It seems obvious that flowers make us happy – why else would we devote so much time and energy to making sure our bouquets and arrangements are picture perfect? But beyond design and décor, flowers themselves can be a powerful tool to re-energize our tranquility, compassion and optimism.
For more information on flowers and stress relief, see the studies cited below: