The power of flowers – psychological benefits of flowers

I think everyone will most likely agree that there is something special about flowers.

They make us happy, brightening up walks through the park and adding a splash of colour to our homes.

But did you know that there are some real psychological benefits to spending time around flowers?

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A study carried out at Harvard medical school found that flowers really do make us happier, and reduce anxiety and negativity.

The people who took part in the study reported that they felt less negative after just a few days of having flowers in their homes, and that they found themselves keen to look at the flowers when they woke up in the morning.

Nancy Etcoff who conducted the research said:

“As a psychologist, I’m particularly intrigued to find that people who live with flowers report fewer episodes of anxiety and depressed feelings.  Our results suggest that flowers have a positive impact on our well-being.”

What’s particularly interesting is that these positive emotions stay with us throughout the day.

Etcoff found that people were more likely to feel enthusiastic and happy at work if they had seen flowers in their home in the morning.

This is echoed in research carried out in Tokyo which found that looking at roses in the work place led to people feeling more comfortable and relaxed as they went about their working day.  So it seems that workplaces could benefit from having more flowers and plants around for employees to enjoy.

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Another slightly surprising finding from Etcoff’s study is that living with fresh-cut flowers in their homes for less than a week led to people feeling more compassionate and kind towards other people.

I wonder if that’s how the flower industry works.

One person buys some flowers for their home, which leads to them feeling kinder towards other people.  So they buy a bunch of flowers for someone else, as an act of kindness.  That person then also feels happier, and kinder, and so they buy flowers for someone else!  And on and on it goes!

If you want to give someone you love a boost by buying them some flowers, you might want to take a minute to consider the meaning behind the ones you choose.

Roses, for example, represent love.

Not all that surprising, they are the classic gift to give your partner on valentine’s day and are closely linked with all things love.

They do have other, hidden meanings though, depending on the colour you pick out.  

White roses represent sympathy, while peach coloured ones represent friendship.  So take a moment to consider the person you’re buying for, and the situation, before you make your final decision!

There are loads more hidden meanings behind all sorts of flowers, and the experts at Flying Flowers have put together a brilliant guide to them over on their site.

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I don’t have one particular flower that I like more than the rest, although tulips are up there for me.

I love the vibrant colours of the different varieties, and think there’s something really beautiful in their simplicity.  And I’m clearly not the only one who loves them, as 76% of people asked in a recent survey said that they would choose tulips if they were to buy flowers for someone’s birthday or anniversary, or to say congratulations to someone.

Do you always have flowers in your home, or are they a special treat once in a while?  What type of flowers do you normally pick out?  

I’d love to know your choices and your reasons for them in the comments!

 

Disclaimer – this is a collaborative post

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