I’ve written before about the Health Benefits of Gardening, and today I wanted to remind you that flowers really do make you happy! It’s scientifically proven!
In celebration of our new Garden Center and our updated selection of Flowers, I wanted to talk to you about how flowers affect our daily lives and encourage you to get some flowers for yourself and those you love.
The Happiness of Flowers Fact #1: Flowers Increase Serotonin
Serotonin is released into your bloodstream from your brain (and more so from your gut!) when you feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. Growing flowers, arranging flowers, buying flowers, and even seeing flowers, cause our mammalian brains to feel that sense of pride.
It’s a different kind of pride – this is more the pride of social status. The thoughts of “I did that”, “I arranged that”, “I thought to purchase that and do something nice for someone/for myself”, and even “someone like me planted those flowers, how lovely!”.
These are all thoughts reflecting our place in the social hierarchy, and how we feel important in the communities we interact with. Whether you give or receive flowers, or even purchase them for yourself, flowers help us feel important, and that regulates our serotonin levels!
The Happiness of Flowers Fact #2: Flowers Increase Dopamine
Dopamine is the chemical of our reward system. Do something you feel you’ll be rewarded for, and you’ll get a rush of dopamine. So – giving flowers – reward!
But also, just SEEING flowers is its own reward. You see, in the times of hunting and gathering for our species, flowers were a sign that a long harsh Winter was coming to an end and food was going to become abundant again. (No really, it’s true – we have this programming from our ancestors!)
Additionally, as we gathered food from the land, one of the things that we looked for were bright colors in the forests and landscapes. Bright colors usually meant food. Yet another form of genetic programming that released dopamine – finding food that could feed the family made them feel good, and we carry that with us to this day. Flowers that we treasure also have bright colors, so we get dopamine just from looking at and interacting with flowers.
The Happiness of Flowers Fact #3: Receiving flowers triggers Oxytocin
Gosh, there’s a lot going on in the world of neurotransmitters! Oxytocin is the bonding hormone – it helps us feel close to others, and helps us also feel attached to our children and to the people that we care about. It’s like a neurotransmitter that is triggered by social trust.
When you receive flowers from someone it tells you that the person who gave them to you is invested in the relationship, or that they care about you and are thinking about you.
Giving flowers are also an acknowledgement that life is fragile and that care is necessary to sustain life – and the care we give our plants to sustain their lives helps us to remember the care that the people and relationships in our lives need too.
The Happiness of Flowers Fact #4: Flowers Improve Emotional Health
A study at Rutgers University in 2005 (published in the Evolutionary Psychology journal) showed that flowers cause people to have a feeling of life satisfaction and to trigger happy emotions like creativity, compassion, tranquility and overall happiness – no matter your age.
Another effect of receiving flowers in that same study showed that there was a marked decrease in depression, anxiety, agitation, and an overall feeling of increased life satisfaction – and the effect lasted longer in females.
Additionally, in a related study by Rutgers, both men and women who gave flowers were perceived as “happy, achieving, strong, capable, and courageous people.” They were determined to look as if they had more emotional intelligence (which is, in essence, a level of awareness of your environment and the interactions that take place within it based on your observations and the actions you take and the reactions you have because of it).
In another study by Harvard, just seeing flowers, especially in the mornings, helped to lift depression, gave people a better sense of well-being, positivity, compassion, and decreased anxiety and depression feelings too.
The Happiness of Flowers Fact #5: Flowers Improve Creativity and Innovation
For some, creating and innovating are the activities that bring the most fulfillment. In a study by Texas A&M, flowers promoted innovation and creative ideas, which led him to state that “this increased productivity could mean the difference between mild and great business success.” This worked for both men and women.
Being productive is one of the drivers of our basic humanity. And when we can do more of that, we are happier with ourselves and our place in the world, leading to that feeling of satisfaction and reward that we seed as humans.
And all of this because of these beautiful, and fleeting, wonders of the Earth – Flowers.
If you want some flowers to help bring you and your loved ones more happiness, why not come by our store and get yourself some lovely blooms to plant in your garden. We’ve definitely upped our garden game and are carrying a lot more flowers than we used to! Come see for yourself!
Until next time, Keep Growing!
P.S. Resources for this article: