The Scientific Benefits of Flowers
Sure, flowers are pretty. And you probably instinctively know they can perk up someone’s mood. But did you know it’s actually backed by science? Flowers have been proven to enhance moods, calm anxiety, even boost creativity and productivity in the workplace. Here are a few of our favorite studies on the Benefits of Flowers:
1. Flowers help you innovate
“During the study, both women and men demonstrated more innovative thinking, generating more ideas and original solutions to problems in the office environment that included flowers and plants. In these surroundings, men who participated in the study generated 30% more ideas. And, while males generated a greater abundance of ideas, females generated more creative, flexible solutions to problems when flowers and plants were present.”
2. Flowers make you happy - REALLY
“An Environmental Approach to Positive Emotion: Flowers. In Study 1, flowers, upon presentation to women, always elicited the Duchenne or true smile. Women who received flowers reported more positive moods 3 days later. In Study 2, a flower given to men or women in an elevator elicited more positive social behavior than other stimuli. In Study 3, flowers presented to elderly participants (55+ age) elicited positive mood reports and improved episodic memory. Flowers have immediate and long-term effects on emotional reactions, mood, social behaviors and even memory for both males and females.”
3. Flowers help you retain information
“The main benefits of plants seem to do with cognition and retention of information. Researchers at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences conducted a "Reading Span” test to see how well office workers in performed in remembering information in rooms with plants and rooms without.
Here’s an excerpt from their findings:
To test their hypothesis that plants in an office setting would lead to benefits, the authors placed some participants in an office with four plants placed around a desk, and others in the same room without plants. … Results of the experiment showed that the participants working in the room with plants improved their performance from the first to the second Reading Span Task, while those in the room without plants did not.
In addition to the reading retention results, the researchers also found that offices with plants reported a reduction in fatigue during demanding work. It’s spring, so I’ll be getting some plants and maybe getting a wee bit smarter too.“
4. Flowers brighten your mood in the morning - and the feeling lasts
"Participants of a behavioral study conducted by researchers at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital confirmed that they feel least positive in the early hours but reported being happier and more energetic after looking at flowers first thing in the morning….Participants in the behavioral study reported being happier and more energetic after looking at flowers first thing in the morning, particularly in the kitchen, because it gave them an emotional boost that lasted well into their workdays.”
“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,” said Nancy Etcoff, Ph.D., lead researcher in the study. “Interestingly, when we placed a small bouquet of flowers into our subjects’ morning routines, people perked up.”
“Other research has proven that flowers make people happy when they receive them,” said Etcoff. “What we didn’t know is that spending a few days with flowers in the home can affect a wide variety of feelings.” The Home Ecology of Flowers study at Harvard uncovered three main findings: 1. Flowers feed compassion. Study participants who lived with fresh cut flowers for less than a week felt an increase in feelings of compassion and kindness for others. 2. Flowers chase away anxieties, worries and the blues at home. Overall, people in the study simply felt less negative after being around flowers at home for just a few days. Participants most frequently placed the flowers in their kitchens, dining rooms and living rooms, where they spent a lot of time at home. They reported wanting to see the blooms first thing in the morning. 3. Living with flowers can provide a boost of energy, happiness and enthusiasm at work. Having flowers at home can have a positive carry-over impact on our mood at work, too. The study found that people were more likely to feel happier and have more enthusiasm and energy at work when flowers were in their home living environments. “As a psychologist, I’m particularly intrigued to find that people who live with flowers report fewer episodes of anxiety and depressed feelings,” said Etcoff. “Our results suggest that flowers have a positive impact on our well-being."