More than just pretty: flower power
For ages people have been giving flowers and getting flowers and feeling good about the whole thing.
We visit florist shops or pick them from our gardens and arrange them in vases to adorn our homes. We send them with get well cards. We use them to express seasons, celebrations, spirituality (think poinsettia's at Christmas, marigolds at Day of the Dead Celebrations, or the spiritual symbolism of the lotus flower). We prize flowers for their beauty, fragrance and colour, and for how they give life to a space. They add that something extra. They make us feel good and make our homes look even better.
Just about everyone has heard about this kind of flower power:
March on the Pentagon on October 21st 1967
The Harvard's Home Ecology Study of Flowers suggests flowers have more power than we realize. The study results suggest that spending only a few days with flowers in the home or at work boosts well-being and makes us more compassionate.
Here's a practical example: you wake up with the morning blahs, unable to have a positive thought until later in the day (turns out this is a real phenomenon). Introduce a flower into your surroundings and you will feel better and perk up earlier. The study proved this. No need for an expensive bouquet of roses either. Even a single wild daisy in a small vase has enough power to nudge you in a better direction. No side affects. Easy.
Increase the potency of the mood-boosting effects by selecting a flower you love above all others (I love marigolds), one that triggers a positive memory, or for its scent (think aroma therapy) or one that symbolizes something you love (geraniums make me think of my mom).
Take it to another level and pay attention to how the flowers are arranged or the choice of vase. Each flower and the way it's arranged has a way of setting an atmosphere.
The study also suggests something else. Not only do flowers make individuals feel better, they also change our feelings for each other. Study participants who lived with fresh cut flowers for less than a week felt an increase in feelings of compassion and kindness for others.
Those allergic to flowers shouldn't feel left out. Allergic reactions to orchids are rare because they don't have airborne pollen. In fact the Allergy and Asthma Foundation has chosen the orchid as its official flower.