It’s official: Flowers make people happy

Something as simple as a bouquet of flowers can help to cheer someone up – a nice thought just before Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. If you really want to make your special person happy, here is something you may find interesting.

The Society of American Florists partnered with the world renowned researcher, Dr.  Jeannette Haviland-Jones, Ph.D, of Rutgers University, on some ground-breaking research to examine the effect of flowers on human emotion and well-being.  Over a 10-month period, some very interesting results were discovered.

Haviland-Jones and her research team found that the presence of flowers triggers happy emotions, heightens feelings of life satisfaction and affects future behaviour in a positive manner far beyond what is normally true. Flowers are a natural and healthful moderator of moods.

“Common sense tells us that flowers make us happy,” says Haviland-Jones, “and now science shows that not only do flowers make us happier than we know, they have strong positive effects on our emotional well-being.”

Here are five main points as condensed from her report:

• Flowers have an immediate impact on happiness. Study participants expressed true or excited smiles upon receiving flowers, demonstrating extraordinary delight and gratitude. This reaction was universal, occurring in all age groups.

• Flowers have a long-term positive effect on moods. Study participants reported feeling less depressed, anxious and agitated after receiving flowers, and demonstrated a higher sense of enjoyment and life satisfaction.

• Flowers make intimate connections. The presence of flowers led to increased contact with family and friends.

• Flowers are a symbol for sharing. The study explored where in their homes people displayed flowers.  Once received, arrangements were placed in areas of the home that are open to visitors – such as foyers, living rooms and dining rooms – suggesting that flowers make the space more welcoming and create a sharing atmosphere.

• People who buy more flowers are happier. Once learning the study results, participants in all ages and gift categories reported that they would be buying more flowers in the future.

This may seem like a bit of promotion for the floral and horticultural industry, but I thought these results would be interesting to everyone.

With so much stress and depression in today’s world, it’s great to know that something as simple as a  bouquet of flowers can  help to cheer someone up – a nice thought just before Valentine’s Day.

Brian Minter is a master gardener who operates Minter Gardens in Chilliwack.

Surrey North Delta Leader

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