This post is provided in partnership with the Society of American Florists.

A *Pretty* Way to Brighten Your Day

‘Tis the season”, right? This time of year is beyond stressful. Between class parties, field trips, Thanksgiving feasts, and preparing our wardrobes for the arctic blasts that have been blowing in, there’s a lot of stress on mama’s plate. I have quite a few things that give me a strong dose of happy, but nothing compares to a nice bouquet of fresh flowers. Whenever I come home from a long day to a surprise bouquet from my husband, my heart literally smiles. 

It’s not surprising that a recent survey showed 68 percent of people feel stress on a weekly basis, and 32 percent are stressed every day. Women, in particular, are affected, as 1 in 4 report experiencing stress multiple times a day. From finances and health concerns, to lengthy to-do lists, there are numerous sources of strain in our lives, and today there is a surprisingly simple way to relieve it – flowers.

A new study from the University of North Florida shows that living with flowers significantly alleviates daily stress. These new findings follow decades of behavioral research studies conducted by researchers at universities including Harvard, Rutgers and Texas A&M that demonstrate flowers’ ability to make people happy, strengthen feelings of compassion, foster creativity and even provide a boost of energy.

The 2018 study, entitled, The Impact of Flowers on Perceived Stress Among Women, concludes that adding flowers to indoor environments results in a statistically significant and meaningful reduction in stress.

“There is a growing body of research that illustrates how environmental design positively impacts health. Now it is both intuitive and scientifically known that adding elements of nature, like flowers, to interiors promotes well-being,” said lead researcher Erin Largo-Wight, Ph.D., Associate Professor of University of North Florida’s Department of Public Health.

The specific results include:

  • The average reduction in stress among the women who received and lived with flowers was -5.5 points on the Perceived Stress Questionnaire, a strong statistical significance in a decrease in stress.
  • Flowers are a unique gift with the proven potential to reduce stress among women — likely because flowers provide the opportunity for nature contact, an established health-promoting environmental exposure.
  • Participants who received flowers overwhelmingly reported that flowers improved their mood.
“Our findings are important from a public health perspective because adding flowers to reduce stress does not require tremendous effort to generate a meaningful effect,” said Largo-Wight. “When life seems to be in a constant state of frenzy, flowers can provide us with a much-needed moment of calm.”
A representative sample of 170 women took part in a two-month study, each of whom filled out Perceived Stress Questionnaires at the beginning and end of their 12-day participation, as well as daily briefings on moods. After five days of participation, they each received one of three interventions as a thank you gift: a flower arrangement, a comparison gift (luxury candle) or nothing at all (as a control). The questionnaire, which is a standard tool for psychosomatic research and self-rated stress, is comprised of 30 questions such as “you feel mentally exhausted,” “your problems seem to be piling up,” “you feel discouraged,” and “you have trouble relaxing,” with a four-point scale ranging from Usually to Almost Never.
According to the data, there were no baseline differences in levels of stress among the three groups at the beginning of the study. At the end of the study, the difference in pre- and post-stress scores among the flower group was highly statistically significant. The perceived stress levels of those who received no item at all also decreased, but not significantly.

Check out this video that shows the study result in action:

Study aside, I know one thing is for sure… this beautiful bouquet certainly brightened my day and made me smile! 


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