You might be wondering, taking time to stop and smell the flowers may be simply cliche, but there is plenty of research to back up the impact of flowers and plants on both physical and psychological well being.
Let’s start with the simplest question – What’s the first thing we think of when visiting friends or family in a hospital?
Yup, you guessed it. Researchers confirmed in their report what all of us that have visited sick loved ones have intuitively understood: brightening patients’ hospital rooms with flowers and potted plants helps them enjoy considerable benefits that they might not otherwise. The findings showed patients surrounded by fresh flowers and plants have lower systolic blood pressure and pulse rates, require less postoperative pain medication, they’re less tired and anxious, and generally enjoy a more positive psychological state than patients in rooms without.
Well beyond the hype of the big florists advertising agendas, health and well being is positively, and legitimately, affected by the colorful, fragrant, living presence of flowers and plants. Considering the positive impact on the infirm, it makes perfect sense that the effects should be just as profound on us, in our daily home and workaday lives.
Looking to inspire great ideas, brainstorming with your team? Try a rubber tree or a ficus. Needing to help inspire creativity? The research of Shibata and Suzuki produced evidence that green leafy plants within view help keep those juices flowing.
Flowers and plants at work have been identified by the work of Raanaas, Evensen, Rich, Sjostrom, and Patil, to improve cognitive performance over workplaces without them. Want workmates or employees that are not only better company but will perform more effectively? Sneak in a lush and colorful arrangement near the water cooler or a majestic rubber tree in front of the window. I’d hasten a guess that this is an instance where more is probably better!
The cost and effort (a weekly trip to the florist, or a jug of fertilizer) is most certainly outweighed by the gains! Not to mention the pleasant aroma and fresh air that are produced, keeping not only your team invigorated but the space you share as well.
If you’ve invested in artwork in your home, you know the emotion and feeling that is pleasantly evoked by an inspired work touching your daily life. Likewise, flowers are a form of natural art and can provide a similar effect. The combination of certain smells and colors have mental, emotional and sometimes physical healing qualities.
Smelling floral scents puts us in a good mood and makes us feel less anxious. For example, the sweet and fragrant jasmine is well known for its ability to calm and help with depression. Lavender and rose can also help depression along with insomnia and anxiety. The scent of lilac brings calm and also helps with sleep.
Color, too, has a profound effect on our mood and disposition. According to researchers, primary colors can have a direct correlation on mood. Depending on the color of your flower arrangement, at home or at work, it can make you feel more vibrant and happier.
Choose orange and/or yellow shades for happiness: tulips, or dahlias, for example. By combining both orange and yellow you can create a calming mood; adding greens can reflect feelings of peace. Red, roses being the most obvious, represents love, passion and life; a yellow bouquet can represent friendship, energy and luminosity.
Looking for a boost of energy? Look to bold, saturated colors. If you’re wanting a more relaxing vibe, surround yourself with bright and gentle colors. The color wheel is a helpful guide: colors that sit near each other on the wheel will also be more calming; where the opposite is true with colors sitting opposed on the wheel.
The next time you’re picking that very special arrangement for a loved one in hospital, consider giving that same benefit to your workplace or your own dining room table. Everyone can enjoy the unique and abundant physical and psychological benefits that flowers and plants can offer.
Better than milk, flowers do a body – mind and spirit – good!
You can grab your for fragrant plants here.