Recently, researchers at Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey, released the results of a six-month behavioral study on the health effects of flowers. The study demonstrates that flowers ease depression, inspire social networking, and refresh memory as we age.
“The results are significant because as we get older and life becomes more stressful, we look for easy and natural ways to enhance our lives,” said Dr. Jeannette Haviland-Jones, professor of psychology and director of the Human Development Lab at Rutgers. Now, one simple answer is right under our noses.”
This research follows a study conducted in 2000 which links flowers to greater happiness in life satisfaction and women. In 2001, Rutgers set out to explore the effects flowers could have on senior citizens, who experience different living situations and greater life changes.
PREVENTION IN A BUD, NOT A BOTTLE
More than 100 seniors participated in the Rutgers research study, in which some received flowers and others did not. The results shed new light on nature’s support systems help seniors cope with the challenges of aging. The results are as follows:
- Flowers decreased depression. Study participant showed a significant increase in happiness and positive moods when flowers were present.
- Flowers refresh recent memory. Participant preformed high on everyday memory tasks and experienced enriched personal memories in the presence of flowers.
- Flowers encourage companionship. Participants who received flowers re-engage with members of their communities and enlarged their social contact to include more neighbors, religious support, and even medical personnel
“Instinct tells us that flowers lift our spirits, but their effects on seniors are especially profound, if not surprising,” said Haviland-Jones.
NEW EVIDENCE SPROUTS UP
Specifically, 81% of participants in the study reported a reduction in depression following the receipt of flowers. 40% reported broadening their social contacts beyond their normal social circle of family and close friends. And 72% of those who receive flowers scored very high on memory test in comparison with those who did not receive flowers
“Happier people live longer, healthier lives and are more open to change,” said Haviland-Jones. “Our research shows that a small dose of nature, like flowers, can do a world of wonder for our well-being as we age.”
Originally from PRO Pulse September-October 2009
By Karen Gantz