Do you like being given flowers? While the benefits of receiving flowers are well-documented, new research shows there’s much more to it – flowers around the home make you feel more kind and compassionate, and boost many positive feelings.
The ‘Home Ecology of Flowers‘ study from Nancy Etcoff, Ph.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School found that when people have flowers around their homes it induces greater feelings of compassion and kindness, and also reduces worry and anxiety.
Previous research has concentrated more on the positive effect people feel when they receive a bunch of flowers, rather than the longer term benefits of seeing them daily. This study found a change in mood after less than a week of flowers in the home. (A control group were given an attractive décor item instead).
Participants placed flowers in rooms where they spent the most time, including kitchens, dining rooms and family rooms and said that they looked forward to seeing the flowers each morning, which created a noticeable mood ‘pick-me-up’. Within a week they showed greater kindness and compassion, as well as reporting having fewer negative or depressed thoughts.
Says lead researcher Nancy Etcoff, Ph.D:
“The morning blahs, it turns out, is a real phenomenon, with positive moods – happiness, friendliness and warmth, for example – manifesting much later in the day. Interestingly, when we placed a small bouquet of flowers into their morning routines, people perked up.”
Even better, the study found that those beneficial effects stayed all day, as those living with flowers around their home also reported feeling happier and more enthusiastic and energetic at work as well.
I think that apart from flowers inside the home, we should look at flowers outside too. Foliage gardening is smart and attractive, and fresh home-grown vegies are good for your body, but I think it’s a flower-filled garden that brings feelings of joy and pleasure. Making sure there are flowers to look out at from the main windows in your home could well have the same effect as having cut flowers in a vase inside. And think what you could do for all the passersby in your neighbourhood by offering them a flower-filled garden to enjoy as they walk past….