The Healing Power of Flowers
Ever wonder why people send flowers for weddings, funerals, anniversaries, birthdays, get well wishes and every major holiday you can name? After all, fresh flowers seem so extravagant. You can't eat them (for the most part), most aren't medicinal, and after a week or so, they wilt and are gone. Yet for thousands of years, humans have spent much time and money cultivating these fleeting natural beauties. Science has discovered at least part of the reason for our fascination with flowers: they induce powerful, positive emotions.
In one study, women always elicited the Duchenne or "true smile" when presented with flowers. An increased positive mood could be measured for three days or more after presentation. In another study, a flower given to men or women in an elevator elicited more positive social behavior than any other stimuli. A third study showed that flowers given to participants aged 55+ evoked positive moods and improved memory. Authors of these studies conclude that "Flowers have immediate and long-term effects on emotional reactions, mood, social behaviors and even memory for both males and females."
We always have fresh flowers in the house, whether it be a single red rose or an entire vase bursting with color and fragrance. Considering the many positive emotions evoked by fresh flowers, why wait until sickness or death to send someone you love a beautiful bouquet?
Dr. Myatt's Recommendation
Don't wait for a special occasion to send flowers to those you love. Remember to send flowers to yourself, too. After having fresh flowers in your home for a week, you'll understand their healing and uplifting powers and will probably never think of them as "extravagant" again!
It's Never Too Late to send flowers!
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An Environmental Approach to Positive Emotion: Flowers. Haviland-Jones, Hale Rosario, R. McGuire, Evolutionary Psychology 3: 104-132, 17 April 2005.