By Michelle Rauch, Gardening Enthusiast
My mother always told me flowers are food for the soul. I couldn’t agree more. There is something about having a fresh bouquet of flowers in the house that lifts the spirits. Maybe it’s the elegant beauty or the floral scent that lingers in the air; whatever it is, they just make you feel better. But don’t take it from me. Scientific studies back up the theory.
Researchers at Rutgers University found that flowers decrease depression, spark happiness and positive moods, and benefit memory retention among seniors. Imagine the mere presence of flowers—lifting your spirits just like that. It’s something you can see. Picture the look on someone’s face when they receive flowers. They light up. Often a beautiful bouquet is a conversation piece which, in turn, increases social interaction. Another study at Harvard found behavior changes in people who were surrounded by flowers. More compassion, less anxiety, and fewer worries were noted in that study.
The benefits are not limited to flowers. Plants have proven to have mental and physical health benefits, too. Plants have the ability to improve the air quality in your home. They are able to reduce airborne molds, bacteria and dust. Plants take in CO2 and release oxygen. There is clinical proof that reducing and eliminating these harmful substances in the home can reduce your chances of catching a cold or getting a headache. Plants are natural humidifiers as well. In hospitals, patients who have plants in their rooms have statistically suffered from less pain and anxiety. Their blood pressure and heart rates are lower than those who do not have plants in their rooms. Overall, patients with plants report being happier with their hospital stay and recovery.
Researchers at Texas A & M University spent eight months studying the impact of having flowers and plants at work. The results were clear. Productivity and creativity increased. According to the findings, ideas from men increased by 15%. Women generated more creative and flexible solutions to tasks.
I have to share an anecdotal story about a former boyfriend. While he was immensely generous when it came to gifts, he was adamant about not spending money on flowers. He gave a very detailed and logical explanation about why I would never receive flowers from him. It was simple. Why spend a generous amount of money on flowers when they will die in a matter of days? I explained the whole food for the soul theory and how happy they make me, to no avail. So, for five years, Valentine’s Day and birthdays would come and go without a flower delivery at work. Meanwhile, I watched as co-workers received their beautiful deliveries. Somehow I did not get the same level of joy living vicariously through other people’s flowers, although there was some joy just having them in the office. Fortunately for me, one of my co-workers was dating someone who didn’t think flowers were a sensible gift. They have since married and she tells me she has “set him straight!” Smart man. Flower giving will likely add to many years of blissful marriage.
Add house plants and bring in fresh cut flowers this spring, and make your house a home while lifting your spirits. Remember your office space, too. I keep a small plant on my desk. You may find the addition not only will improve your own mood, but will create a welcoming environment for guests.