It's Valentine's day and that means flowers will be flying off the shelves. Flowers are often reserved for special occasions. But what if you were told that flowers can actually bring health benefits? As more and more people move into cities (and away from nature), it could be important to invite more plants indoors and enjoy those fresh cut flowers.
Humans rely on plants for the production of oxygen. Plants intake carbon dioxide, which they convert (with the help of some sunlight via photosynthesis) into oxygen. However, recent research has shown that they can do a lot more!
A study by Kansas State University shows that patients in hospitals who have fresh flower bouquets in their rooms require less pain medication and experience lower levels of anxiety during their recovery. Flowers can also help humidify the air which can physically help us breathe easier and boost immunity.
"Lack of humidity creates an environment in your body that breeds infections,” states Dr. Dasgupta, a pulmonary sleep doctor and professor at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.
Fresh flowers in our homes can also offer many psychological benefits. Rutgers University conducted a 10-month study on the emotional impact of flowers and found that they are a "natural moderator" of moods. Participants even reported that they felt less stressed and agitated when they consistently had fresh flowers.
Another study by Harvard University found links between waking up with a happier mood and seeing flowers first thing in the morning. “The morning blahs, it turns out, is a real phenomenon, with positive moods – happiness, friendliness and warmth, for example – manifesting much later in the day,” says lead researcher Nancy Etcoff, Ph.D. “Interestingly, when we placed a small bouquet of flowers into their morning routines, people perked up.”
Flowers can even help increase productivity. Modern schedules no longer revolve around seasons or even the sun, flowers at home can help increase mindfulness on the passing of time and even encourage the accomplishment of goals in a timely manner.
“Flowers help people measure time and track goals, whether they be fitness goals or career goals, because different flowers are in season at different times and act as a positive symbol of the passage of time” states Dak Kopec, PhD, a design and environmental psychologist.
It’s commonly known that the color green can help reduce stress levels, a big positive of indoor potted plants, but adding a boost of natural color with flowers can also promote stronger emotions of well being and happiness since we associate them with positive life events.
So this Valentine's day, SKIP THE CHOCOLATE, and opt for some fresh flowers for your sweetheart!