Do you smile when you look at a beautiful flower? Do you get close and take in the scent? It turns out there is good reason for this reaction. Flowers make us happy and there's proof!
Jeannette Haviland-Jones, Ph.D., a professor of psychology and director of the Emotions Laboratory at Rutgers University, conducted a study on "Flower Power."
In studies of whether flowers make people happy, Haviland-Jones and colleagues at Rutgers found that women who were given flowers all smiled with true enjoyment, a type of smile called the Duchenne smile, which is associated with the raising of the cheeks and crinkling around the eyes.
Numerous scientific studies have proven that flowers have positive effects on the brain; they elevate mood, reduce stress, and even help people to heal faster through color, scent, and symbolism.
Flowers elevate mood through color — Yellow, peach, warm pink, and subtle greens are nurturing colors. Pinks and purples send a message of comfort, intimacy, and nostalgia. Reds, oranges, and hot pinks are sensuous and passionate. Blues, greens, and purples are calming and relaxing colors. A variety of bright and bold-colored flowers sends a message of celebration.
Fragrance is another way that flowers affect the brain. For example, phenylethylamine is a chemical in roses that gives them their signature scent. This chemical holds an amino acid that slows the breakdown of beta endorphins; beta endorphins are hormones responsible for making us feel euphoric and in love.
Research has also been done on how flowers affect healing rates of hospital patients. The presence of flowers in patient recovery rooms greatly reduces the healing time. Even a view of a garden through the window helps accelerate healing time.
So go ahead, stop and smell the roses! Turns out it's good for you!
Which flowers are your favorites?