The mood power of flowers
A vase full of flowers is pleasant to look at in any home or office. Did you know, though, that the presence of blossoms can actually make you a better worker and an overall happier person?
Here's some research to prove it:
When you're hitting a creative roadblock at work, a bouquet of flowers might help to fuel your inspiration.
Particularly as the workforce becomes more competitive, it has become crucial for job seekers to have an innovative edge. According to a Texas A&M University study, flowers could help with gaining that advantage by fueling creativity and quick thinking. The study found that employees were able to enhance their problem-solving and overall performance when greenery was in their work environment.
Over the course of eight months, participants were asked to complete tasks in a range of office conditions, including one with a sculpture, one with flowers and one with neither. Subjects were able to think more actively and creatively when the plants were present, with men generating 15 percent more ideas.
Dr. Roger Ulrich, lead researcher on the project, explained that these findings indicate flowers could be a major factor in business success.
"We know the importance of learning, for example, how natural surroundings affect drivers, school children and hospital patients," he said, "To businesses, it should be equally as important to understand what features can improve performance at work and make employees more productive."
Blooms help with stress reduction
There's further evidence that blooms can boost employee productivity while also reducing tension on the job. Professors in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Washington State University conducted a study that measured the stress levels of people using computers. Research showed that when plants were present in the lab, subjects' reactions were 12 percent quicker, while their blood pressure was lower. Participants also reported feeling more focused on the task at hand with greenery around them.
If you're feeling a lot of pressure at work or simply can't seem to concentrate on a job-related task, consider putting some of your favorite flowers on your desk.
Improve your morning mood
If you don't consider yourself a morning person, flowers could be the answer to perking you up in the early hours. A behavioral study conducted by researchers at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital found that even people who admit to feeling least optimistic at the start of their day saw a difference after looking at flowers when they woke up. Lead researcher Nancy Etcoff explained that when a small bouquet was incorporated into subjects' morning routines, they reported feeling increased happiness, energy and compassion. Meanwhile, negative emotions, like anxiety, were lowered with exposure to flowers at the beginning of the day. The positive effects were especially strong when the bouquet was placed in the kitchen.
"What I find interesting is that by starting the day in a more positive mood, you are likely to transfer those happier feelings to others – it's what is called mood contagion," said Etcoff. "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."
Rebecca Cole, New York City-based floral designer and host of the Discovery Channel's "Surprise by Design," suggested choosing citrus-colored flowers, which are particularly cheerful, and putting them in an area where you spend most of your time in the morning. She also pointed out that strategically placing them where messes tend to accumulate can prevent clutter from building up.
"I grew up with a kitchen often decorated with flowers," Cole said. "My family knew instinctively that flowers brought joy to the people who came in contact with them – and now there is scientific proof."