If you feel worried, stressed out or just plain miserable, there's an inexpensive and attractive way to boost your mood and make you smile: Bring flowers into your life.

No, this isn't a commercial from online flower delivery companies. It's scientific research from several respected universities.

Behavioral researchers at Rutgers University concluded after a 2005 double-blind study that flowers evoked visibly positive responses from people who received them. These individuals reported feeling happier even three days later than others in the study who got appealing but non-floral gifts.

Psychology professor Jeannette Haviland-Jones initiated the research and later consulted her husband, genetics professor Terry McGuire. Study participants were given gifts of either an attractive candle, a fruit basket or a bouquet of flowers, ostensibly as thank-you presents for taking part in different projects.

The study subjects did not know that the delivery people were actually examining and recording their reactions to these gifts. Haviland-Jones, after analyzing the responses in the Human Emotional Lab at Rutgers, found that virtually every person who got flowers responded with what is described as the Duchenne smile, a full smile that includes not only the mouth, but also the cheeks and eyes. People who got the other gifts did not have the same response.

Harvard researcher Nancy Etcoff, in a study that involved Harvard Medical School in conjunction with Massachusetts General Hospital, discovered that study subjects reported they felt happier and more energetic in the morning if they looked at flowers in their homes, especially the kitchens. Etcoff learned through subsequent research that the subjects reported feeling less anxious and more compassionate after being in the presence of flowers, and their heightened energy levels continued through the day.

"What I find interesting is that by starting the day in a more positive mood, you are likely to transfer these happier feelings to others   it's what is called mood contagion," said Etcoff in a press release. "And the kitchen is the place where families tend to gather in the morning   imagine how big a difference a better morning mood can make."

If you are feeling a little low, why not check out flowers online and perhaps indulge in the best flowers your budget can handle from the best flower delivery services? You might be surprised to find that numerous offerings from online flower firms are quite reasonably priced and, if you trim their stems and give them fresh water regularly, can last for a week or even longer.

A small investment could not only brighten a room in your home, but uplift your spirits as well.

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