It isn’t easy living in the Midwest in the winter. The temperatures are cold (frigid!), it’s dark and dreary, and people don’t tend to get out as much as they do the rest of the year.
Winter is also the time when an estimated 10 million Americans are suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder. These “winter blues” are known to cause a drop in energy level, moodiness and fatigue.
Needless to say, this is the time of year where we all start counting down the days until spring, sunshine and warmer weather. So what do you do in the meantime for a little boost?
It may sound simple, but the answer is flowers.
There are so many benefits to having flowers in your home! On a basic level, flowers appeal to our two most important senses: sight and smell.
But did you know that research shows that flowers also benefit our wellbeing?
One study on the effect of flowers was conducted at Rutgers University by a team lead by Dr. Jeannette Haviland-Jones from the Department of Psychology. This study focused its attention on the ability of flowers to relieve stress and improve emotional health. The findings were interesting and came as little surprise to many.
- Flowers have immediate impact on happiness. All study participants, in every age group, expressed excitement when receiving flowers. Reactions included surprise, genuine happiness and gratitude.
- Flowers have a long-term positive effect on moods. Study participants reported feeling less depressed, anxious, and agitated after receiving flowers. They also demonstrated greater sense of life satisfaction.
- Flowers create intimate connections. Giving and receiving flowers creates positive contact between family and friends.
Another study on the effect of flowers on people was conducted at Harvard University by Dr. Nancy Etcoff of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Called the “Home Ecology of Flowers Study”, researchers drew three main conclusions from their results:
- Flowers evoke feelings of compassion. Study participants who had fresh-cut flowers in their home environment felt an increase in feelings of compassion and kindness for others. This held true even when the flowers were in the home for a relatively short time.
- Flowers relieve “the blues”. Simply put, study participants felt less negative after being around flowers at home. Flowers placed in rooms frequented in the morning after arising can help to dissipate the “morning blahs”, they concluded.
- Flowers give people a physical and psychological “lift”. Increases in energy, happiness and enthusiasm at work were reported by those who had flowers in their home environment.
Are you convinced? Good. So now what?
Bring some gorgeous blooms into your home to summon up whatever feelings or emotions that you want; need a bit of energy, some long overdue calm? The mighty flower can do that for you, and more.
When you’re picking out your flowers, remember that less saturated and brighter colors are generally more relaxing, while bold saturated colors will energize you. A bunch with colors that fall near each other on the color wheel will also be more calming; with the opposite effect ensuing if the colors are opposite each other.
Display your blooms in areas of the home that are open to visitors – such as foyers, living rooms and dining rooms – to bring out positive emotional feelings and make the space more welcoming.
Remember: You don’t need a holiday or special occasion to buy flowers, and it’s an investment with so many benefits for yourself and others. Make flowers a staple in your home, and find opportunities to share the gift with others.
As always, I’d love to hear from you. Do you use flowers in your home and see these benefits? If not, give it a whirl and let me know if you notice a difference. Use the comments section below or send me an email.