Flowers & Plants Bring Happiness, Productivty & Healing To Our Lives

by Linda Wiggen Kraft

Flowers and plants, whether the real thing or in art, aren’t just nice things to have around, they have been scientifically shown to bring happiness, productivity and healing in homes, workplaces and hospitals. Scientific studies from Texas A& M University, Rutgers University, Harvard Medical School, and Evidence Based Design have shown the positive impact of plants on people, something flower and garden lovers probably knew already.

With so much attention on the economy today, a recent study done by Texas A&M University has relevance for innovation and problem solving in business. The study showed more ideas generated and creative thinking done by both men and women in work spaces with flowers and plants versus an environment with sculpture or nothing for decor. The lead researcher, Dr. Roger Ulrich stated; “Our research shows that a change as simple as adding flowers and plants can be important in the most meaningful way to businesses in the modern economy. People’s productivity, in the form of innovation and creative problem solving, improved – which in certain circumstances could mean the difference between mild and great business success.”

Of course happiness and emotional well being have importance not just in the workplace but for all parts of life. A ten month Rutgers University study of the behavioral and emotional response to flowers demonstrated participants spontaneous true smiles upon receiving a gift of flowers versus a candle or other gifts, along with long term positive mood, and greater contact with family and friends. “What’s most exciting about this study is that it challenges established scientific beliefs about how people can manage their day-to-day moods in a healthy and natural way,” said Jeannette Haviland-Jones, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at Rutgers and lead researcher on the study.  A similar response was found in a Harvard Medical School study by Nancy Etcoff, Ph.D., of the Harvard Medical School and the Harvard University Mind/Brain/Behavior Initiative. Etcoff’s study found that flowers make people feel more compassionate, have fewer anxieties and have increased energy and enthusiasm at work. She states: “As a psychologist, I’m particularly intrigued to find that people who live with flowers report fewer episodes of anxiety and depressed feelings.”

Flowers and nature also help with healing of patients in hospitals. It’s been known for decades that patients who view nature outside their hospital windows heal faster. But even art that shows nature has a healing quality. Architects and designers now use Evidence Based Design to create patient rooms and other areas of healing facilities because measurable improvements in how patients feel and heal have been shown to take place when art work that shows nature is part of the decor.

For most of us who love flowers and plants, we don’t need research to show us how happiness, healing and inspiration are enhanced by the beauty of nature. We knew already.

Linda Wiggen Kraft is a mandala artist and garden designer who uses the wisdom of many traditions in her work. Linda invites you to visit her new blog:

www.creativityforthesoul.com/blog or (314) 504-4266.