Flowers boost your mood, says Rutgers Researchers

Beloved Flower Lover,

This is taken from Rutgers magazine:

Research by Jeannette Haviland-Jones, professor of psychology, and her husband, Terry McGuire, professor of genetics, both at the School of Arts and Sciences, offers convincing evidence that flowers may be potent mood elevators.

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In the first of several double-blind studies performed in 2005, Haviland-Jones and her team presented participants with one of three gifts—a decorative candle, a fruit basket, and a floral bouquet—­supposedly as a thank-you for taking part in a study on mood. The delivery people were really out to measure the recipients’ facial expressions in response to the gifts; the research was then analyzed and coded by Haviland-Jones in her Human Emotions Lab at Rutgers.

In every case, the recipients responded to the flowers with what is known as the Duchenne smile—a heartfelt “true smile” involving the mouth, cheeks, and eyes; neither the candle nor the fruit elicited that kind of across-­the-board positive response.

And three days later, the flower recipients were still feeling happier than their cohorts in the study. Clearly, something about flowers was uniquely moving them, and Haviland-Jones didn’t think it was simply that “we’re socialized to like flowers.”

For a possible explanation, she turned to her husband, whose work in evolutionary biology offered a different vantage point. “It began to dawn on me,” McGuire says, “that we were really into coevolution”—whereby two (or more) species evolve in response to changes in the other. On this evolutionary two-way street, we may have offered the flowers a way to be fruitful and multiply (by cultivating them in our gardens rather than tossing them onto the Bronze Age compost pile). And they offered us something that, until recently, wasn’t considered necessary for survival: pleasure.

— Leslie Garisto Pfaff

Rutgers Magazine: Were you surprised by the results of your study?

Jeannette Haviland-Jones:

I was shocked. When I saw that every person who got the flowers responded with the Duchenne smile, I thought, No, this doesn’t happen. In the emotions lab, you never get a 100 percent response unless you’re dropping a snake on people, which gives you a nice 100 percent fear response. But, happy? No.

RM: Why would something that merely makes us feel good, like flowers, afford an evolutionary edge?

JH-J: Somebody asked me, “Are you saying that flowers are the pets of the plant world?” And that’s probably true: flowers, like pets, help reduce stress. And, thanks to the new field of positive psychology, there’s more evidence that positive emotion is healing and enhances reproductive fitness.

RM: What is it about flowers that makes us so happy?

JH-J: One of the original theories, from [biologist and environmentalist] E.O. Wilson, was that flowers were a marker for fruit, and that’s why people liked them. But people actually don’t prefer the flowers that lead to fruit, so it seems like a weak argument. It may be that plants use a number of roads. One could be odor, which I think is particularly likely. Color is another good possibil­ity. And there is some research showing that we’re drawn to symmetrical shapes and patterns.
Not all flowers are symmetrical, but most are.


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The Team,
The London Flower Lover

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Welcome to The London Flower Lover. We are florists who create floral collections to tell your real life story. With colour and texture, we take floristry into an entirely new direction based on the challenges and joys of your life. Offering what we call 'heart based floristry' we use style, fashion, and life situations and merge them with heart based lifestyle support. This inspiring blend creates so much more for those who love flowers. Using flowers in the traditional way of course, but always using flowers to open up a floralicious conversation about relationships of all kinds. We are a sort of work in progress of compassionately confirming how we are already on the inside, the love we want to see out in the world. That is mission of The London Flower Lover. So saying yes to recognising that is at the heart of this blog and using flowers to honour that inner world is how we use the beauty of giving and receiving flowers. This blog is your blog. It's as much about cultivating your heart, as it is about enjoying the physical beauty of flowers. It offers story, poems and video to reflect the life you actually live whilst showing beautifully inspiring collections of flower designs. Hand-tied bouquets, arrangements and more. All this with sought after tips from well established experts on how to keep a happy heart. This is what makes The London Flower Lover unique and magical. Yes, and that's how we make the difference that we do. When life looks, feels, or sounds challenging, we offer a sanctuary that you may dip into. A well of refreshment and strength that you may draw from. Sharing what others have found to be successful ways of being happy in the face of challenges, whilst letting flowers do the talking when we have no other way to interpret what is going on. Use flowers to help you re-discover, reveal and remember how you can still be despite challenges. Use flowers to celebrate and to embody the possibility of your heart felt desire, fulfilled. Use flowers in your life, to remind you of the beauty of your life. Use The London Flower Lover today. We invite you to stay curious in this floral universe as you explore the love in the heart. This is a floralicious world.
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