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More than just a pretty vase: The mental health benefits of flowers

More than just a pretty vase: The mental health benefits of flowers
(Image credit: 1800 Flowers)

It’s no secret that sending flowers or even a gift basket is a popular way of showing you care, but research has shown that flowers can offer way more than sentimental value to recipients. Many of us turn to the best flower delivery online services to find the perfect bouquet for any occasion, from birthdays to anniversaries, but there could be deep-rooted psychological reactions to keeping flowers nearby, according to research.

The research comes from Bloom and Wild, a British-based company that wanted to look deeper into why flowers can be such a mood-booster. The ‘Flower Power’ experiment found that 75% of those surveyed felt a reduction in their stress levels after putting flowers in their workspace, and 50% felt a boost in productivity. So if you’re finding yourself stuck in a rut or low on energy, treating yourself to a bouquet could really help.

As part of the study, Bloom & Wild spoke to a specialist in psychological interventions, Lowri Dowthwaite, who said that evolution is at least partly responsible for why humans find flowers to be a source of happiness. 

"There are many psychological theories about self-actualizing which is about becoming your true self and being a whole person. It's about connecting to where you came from and nature is where we came from. When we're with nature we automatically feel more at home.”

More than just a pretty vase: The mental health benefits of flowers

75% of those surveyed felt a reduction in their stress levels after putting flowers in their workspace. (Image credit: 1800 Flowers)

The study involved newly-remote workers who, upon receiving a delivery of flowers, used the best fitness trackers to monitor their heart rates. On average, 30 minutes of flower arranging made heart rates drop by 7.17 bmp, which is a good indicator that it reduced stress levels. As Dowthwaite explained, this may be due to the heightened connection to nature felt by these remote workers, most of whom had likely limited their exposure to nature due to lockdown requirements.

Speaking to horticulturalists, we found that gardening can improve your mental health for this same reason. Especially during lockdown and the coronavirus pandemic, many have experienced the benefits of immersing oneself in nature and breaking out the lawnmower to experience stress relief and mindfulness.

Can flowers really help hospital patients “Get Well Soon”?

More than just a pretty vase: The mental health benefits of flowers

(Image credit: Getty)

Whether it’s to mark a special occasion or simply brighten someone’s day, sending a bouquet of flowers to friends or loved ones is a surefire way to boost their mood. One of the main reasons people send flowers is as a “Get Well Soon” gift. The American Society for Horticulture Science found in a 2008 study that this works not only to boost the mood of hospital patients, but it also led to some positive physiological responses such as lower heart rate, lower ratings of pain, anxiety, and fatigue. 

In particular, the study found that “plants in a hospital environment could be noninvasive, inexpensive, and an effective complementary medicine for patients recovering from abdominal surgery.” So if you have a loved one who is feeling a little under the weather, or who is currently in hospital, they could really experience some benefits from a simple flower delivery.  

Which flower is the most uplifting?  

The research shows that ordering from the best flower delivery services online is a surefire way to boost your mood, or that of a loved one. However, Bloom and Wild also offers some advice when it comes to selecting your bouquet of choice. 

Floriography, or the language of flowers, attributes meanings to types and colors of flowers, but the ‘Flower Power’ study also revealed which types of flowers have the greatest emotional payoffs. 

More than just a pretty vase: The mental health benefits of flowers

Studies have shown that pink roses have physiological and psychological relaxing effects. (Image credit: The Bouqs)

Speaking to Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, Bloom and Wild found that “our response to color is intensely emotional, and flowers can be a catalyst for feelings that stimulate more than just our senses of sight and smell.” So if you’re sending flowers to someone who is a bit stressed, you’ll find that blue and white flowers can have calming effects. Think irises, white roses, or lisianthus. Likewise, if you’re feeling down or lacking in motivation, bright colors such as yellow and orange can be energizing. That could be sunflowers, yellow tulips or orange roses.

The study points to roses in particular as a calming and mood-boosting influence. One study in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that office workers, when exposed to pink roses, found physiological and psychological relaxing effects, so adding a bouquet of pink roses to your home office is a good place to start if you're struggling to focus or unwind. Pair with our ultimate flower care guide for long-lasting stress relief.