You may think slowing down to take 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 a both physical and psychological well being.
We’ll begin with the obvious. What’s the first thing we think of when visiting friends or family in hospital?
Yup, you guessed it. Researchers, Park and Mattson, confirmed in their 2008 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 colourful, 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 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 colourful 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.
It isn’t just ambience that is enhanced with flower arrangements, no matter how small, on every table in your favourite restaurant. Researchers from Wageningen University in the Netherlands studied restaurant diners and found that diners were in a better mood if they had fresh flowers on their tables.
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 similar effect. The combination of certain smells and colours have mental, emotional and sometimes physical healing qualities.
Smelling floral scents puts us in a good mood and make 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.
Colour, too, has profound effect on our mood and disposition. According to researchers at Columbia University, primary colours can have a direct correlation on mood. Depending on the colour 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 colours. If you’re wanting a more relaxing vibe, surround yourself with bright and gentle colours. The colour wheel is a helpful guide: colours that sit near each other on the wheel will also be more calming; where the opposite is true with colours sitting opposed on the wheel.
The next time you’re picking that very special arrangement for a loved one in hospital, consider gifting 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! Pick some up today… Inspire is happy to help! 😉