Why You Should Send Flowers?
In this post we look at two reasons why you should send flowers: One being the power they have over our moods and two the language of flowers.
Usually when we send or buy flowers we are celebrating a special occasion: a birthday, anniversary, showing sympathy, celebrating Valetine's Day, or Mother's day.
We also buy flowers to decorate our homes and or office spaces.
Those occasions are mostly events in our lives when sending someone flowers is the traditional thing to do.
Whatever the reason we choose, be it sending someone flowers, or buying flowers to decorate our home, research now shows flowers have an even bigger impact on our lives.
Beyond the obvious visual appeal flowers have, we are now learning that flowers have a positive impact on our mood and overall attitude toward life and the relationships we establish.
The Power of Giving Flowers
We know that flowers are usually well received when given to the recipient and researchers have discovered flowers actually induce real positive emotions.
In three studies conducted by Jeannette Haviland-Jones, professor of psychology, and her husband, Terry McGuire, professor of genetics, both at the School of Arts and Sciences, their research provided evidence that flowers are indeed a powerful mood changer. To read the research paper more in depth you can go here for the original paper An Environmental Approach to Positive Emotion: Flowers on the schools website.
In study 1, they set out to measure the flowers effect on immediate and long term mood changes. The participants consisted of 147 adult women across three age groups.
They compared the immediate and long-term emotional behavior of participants who received floral bouquets to the behavior of participants who were given non floral gifts. What they learned using industry measuring scales on emotions was participants responded better overall to flowers compared to comparative gifts like a gift basket or candle.
The initial study also revealed secondary impacts of receiving flowers. What they found indicated that giving someone flowers improved their mood, not just at the moment of delivery, but long afterwards. As well, a bouquet of flowers also showed those who received them were significantly less depressed than those receiving none.
In study 2 they set out to test participants social behavior with flowers by including men as well as women as recipients of flowers. Participants included 122 individuals (60 males, 62 females).
They study impact demonstrated contrary to cultural expectation, when both men and women were presented with flowers they were 1) more likely to smile; 2) stand at a social distance rather than at an impersonal distance.
What they study revealed was that men, who aren't expected to prefer flowers, showed the same emotional pattern of smiling as women. In fact, in their discovery process they found that they had participants who were disappointed when they didn't received a flower. Compared to other gifts participants responded with higher levels of social behaviors when given flowers.
In study 3 the researchers set out to test the secondary effects of flowers on retired seniors. The participants consisted of 113 participants (93 women and 10 men). Their average age was about 73 years.
The people in this study received either two, one or no flower bouquets over a 2-week period. They were also asked to keep daily diaries of social interactions to record their social engagements and activities.
What study 3 showed was like in the earlier studies, the participants who received flowers displayed an increase in positive emotions related to receiving flowers with secondary benefits. Participants who received at least one bouquet of flowers had higher scores on the episodic memory task than those who had not yet received any bouquets.
Further results from the final study demonstrated that many of the seniors had very strong reactions to receiving flower during their delivery experiments that they even received hugs and kisses. This effect was more than anticipated and showed just how deep the impact flowers had on the group.
"Our results indicate that the simple presentation of flowers, even a single flower, will release a strong and immediate behavior reflecting positive affect.... it is possible that the flowers—either through their visual or odorous qualities—have effects on brain chemistry," according to the study authors.
As a result of this study we can understand why giving someone flowers is always a good decision. The positive effect that flowers have on the brain, like creating happy emotions and being more socially engaged, demonstrate flowers are a mood and behavioral changer for the good.
So when you send flowers you are doing more than just celebrating a special occasion. As we now have research that shows us that flowers have a lasting positive effects on our emotional well being.
Finding Meaning In Flowers
There are also other aspects to flowers that are often over looked and it relates to the language of flowers or the meaning of flowers. Historically flowers were used during Victorian-era as a means of communication to send coded messages to express feelings which couldn't be spoken.
There are many historical counts in books on the origins of the language of flowers and how different societies from around the world developed them as a means of communication. The language of flowers is widely believed to have begun in 17th century Ottoman Turkey and then later introduced in other European countries.
There are plenty of resources available online to explore the subject further as there are many different accounts and variations to it's origins.
The language of flowers we have come to know of today is basically based on a combination of what has been derived from literature, mythology, religion, and the physical characteristics of the flowers themselves.
For a list of flower meaning and types you can take a look at our alphabetical list of flower types we've put together. There are other resources online, like the one at Flower Possibilities or you can even do a Wiki search for specific flowers meanings and their origins.
You can also find books on floriography like the one done by Brian Watson where he uses photography and text to illustrate the meaning of flowers and symbolism. Also take a look at Say It With Floriography by Nick Misani - which is a textbook and workbook set that examines the Victorian flower language by using contemporary coded language of emoticons.
Many of the flowers we buy today have there own specific meaning and symbolize different emotions. For instance, the Peony flower can mean invigorating, and the Daffodil can symbolize courage. Many flower types come in varying colors and sizes, each having their own respective meaning or symbolism like roses and carnations.
When a man gives red roses to a woman it's generally an expression of romantic appreciation and or love. And for many years red roses have been one of the most popular floral bouquets to buy for Valentine's Day because we associate red roses with love.
Finding the meaning behind different flowers is interesting way to approach buying flowers for a special occasion. It's really another way to look at giving someone flowers in a modern age as you don't have to worry about sending coded messages for fear of retribution.
There are those that buy different flowers to celebrate a wedding anniversary, as anniversary milestones have specific flowers associated with them. Those flowers usually have a symbolic nature that coincide with the anniversary milestone.
Finding the meaning behind the flowers you send is another road as was mentioned before for sending flowers. We don't always have to look at buying flowers for an occasion and leaving it at that as we often do.
We can see now with the evidence of research that sending flowers to someone special or using them around the home can have a deeper impact and significance then you may have previously thought. If you like sending flowers you maybe more inclined to continue to do so given their impact beyond the objective value they offer.
And if you are knew to what flowers symbolized you may want consider the language of the flowers and what they symbolize to help make a better buying decision.
Ultimately we know that flowers are inherently pleasant to look at and can elicit smiles and warm feelings regardless of what the mean. Yet if your looking for deeper significance with the flowers you send you have reasons why you should send a bouquet.