Category: ‘Flower Research’

Thumbnail Photo

When statistics show that stress is at an all-time high and you have a simple but scientifically proven solution to help people cope, what do you do? You take the power to the people — FLOWER POWER, that is. That’s exactly what the Society of American Florists did during Stress Awareness Month in April. Armed with research from the University of North Florida’s Department of Public Health that shows that living with flowers significantly reduces stress, we literally “hit the road” in a vintage VW bus to spread the stress-relieving benefits of flowers.

We called it our StressLess Tour, and kicked it off in the iconic corner of Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco, where the growth of the flower power movement gained traction fifty years ago. From city to city throughout the StressLess Tour, teams of volunteers, dressed in purple, gave out thousands of colorful flower bouquets to brighten the days of unsuspecting passersby and let them experience the moments of calm that flowers can bring.

Everyone can relate to stress, and we were met with smiles, hugs, even tears, as well as the acknowledgement of the importance of slowing down every once in a while. This feel-good effort showed that it doesn’t take a lot to turn your day around and give people a chance to smile and take a breath. Stress relief in small doses such as this can go a long way towards maintaining a positive outlook and putting the need for self care (or the care of others) at the forefront.

You know what else we learned? Flowers open hearts and create connection. We experienced it over and over again as we approached strangers who were first skeptical, but then delighted that someone would do something so kind. They often stopped to engage in conversation (with strangers!), and expressed how this random act of kindness would not soon be forgotten and how it will inspire them to be more deliberate in appreciating nature and the people around them. We couldn’t keep this great experience to ourselves, so decided to share it. Take a look at the video below — we bet it will make your day! How do flowers make you feel?

Thumbnail Photo

April is Stress Awareness Month

by Jennifer Sparks on March 30, 2019 at 9:19 am

Did you know that April is Stress Awareness Month? Because almost everyone can relate to stress, health professionals and wellness experts across the country use this time to increase public awareness about the causes of stress and help people find ways to cope.

Americans are indeed stressed. Think about it: Taxes. Finances. Work overload. Health concerns. In fact, according to a survey by Wakefield Research, 68 percent of people feel stress on a weekly basis, and 32 percent are stressed every day. Women, in particular, are affected, as one in four report experiencing stress multiple times a day.

Here’s the good news: Scientific research offers a surprisingly simple way to help relieve it. According to a study conducted at the University of North Florida’s Department of Public Health, living with flowers significantly reduces stress. Lead researcher Erin Largo-Wight, Ph.D., says these findings are important from a public health standpoint because “adding flowers to reduce stress does not require tremendous effort to generate a meaningful effect.”

These findings follow decades of behavioral research studies conducted by researchers at Harvard, Rutgers and Texas A&M that demonstrate flowers’ ability to enhance our well being, so it makes sense that flowers would help to provide a moment of calm amidst a hectic day.

Still not convinced? Do a little experiment and just try it. Read More

Thumbnail Photo

Experience holiday peace, not stress

by Jennifer Sparks on November 28, 2018 at 8:26 am

We are embarking on a wonderful season of joy and festive celebration! But let’s face it, decking the halls and many other to-do’s in the month of December can also bring stress. According to a recent poll, 68 percent of people feel stress on a daily basis, and 32 percent experience stress daily. Add the busyness of the holidays — from shopping, to organizing the guest lists, to putting up the decorations, wrapping presents, etc., etc., etc. — our feelings of overwhelm are heightened, as we worry about how everything will get done.

It’s important in these hectic times to step back, breathe, and take small opportunities to have a moment of calm, so we can enjoy the holiday festivities, rather than stress over them. Easier said than done, I know! But science offers a surprisingly simple solution: FLOWERS.

New research from the University of North Florida shows that women who lived with flowers, even just for a few days, reported a significant reduction in their stress levels. Click here to hear the results straight from the researcher herself.

Could it really be that easy? You’d be surprised at how just having flowers in your environment can make a difference in how you and your family approach your day. Try one or more of these tips on how flowers can help you and your loved ones have a productive, and enjoyable,  holiday season:

Combat Day-to-Day Busyness and Overwhelm: Keeping flowers on the kitchen counter, bedside table, or even the bathroom – somewhere that you will see as you are coming and going – can help provide a reminder to take a mental break. Flowers have a calming effect. We can use it to our advantage during busy times. 

Support Stressed Out Friends: We can help our friends cope with daily stress too. An unexpected surprise gift of flowers for a friend can go a long way. It might be the best gift they receive this season!

Show Appreciation to the Busy Party Host: Especially now that we have scientific proof of their positive impact on our well being – I find flowers are a great way to show our appreciation to the host of a holiday party. For instance, send flowers to the house the day before so he or she can experience their calming effects during the preparations — or thank them after the party is over.

Minimize Family Dinner Friction: If you sense there might be some conflict at the family gathering, use the stress-relieving effects of flowers to “ease the tension” by having flowers right there on the dinner table. It’s worth a try, and might take the conversation in a more agreeable direction.

Help Prevent Loneliness: As wonderful as the holidays can be for most, for some it is a season of loneliness — missing deceased loved ones, not having family in town, or even estrangement from relatives.  This can be a stressful time, and flowers can be a real help to show a neighbor or friend that they are acknowledged and cared for.

Thumbnail Photo

Stress is a huge societal concern. Stressors are inescapable – finances, family and health concerns, and lengthy to-do lists create sources of strain on our lives. According to a recent poll, 68 percent of people feel stress on a weekly basis, and 32 percent are stressed every day. Women in particular are affected, as 1 in 4 report experiencing stress multiple times a day.

Researchers across a wide range of disciplines are exploring practical solutions to our growing stress problem. Health by Design is a new area in public health focused on creating calming and restorative environments in order to promote well-being. The field is closely followed by researchers, architects, designers, healthcare workers, and others who work to promote health through quality environments that soothe and rejuvenate.

The underlying theory of this growing body of research is that environmental design impacts health, and contact with nature reduces feelings of stress.

An illustration of Health by Design in action is my new study at the University of North Florida’s Brooks College of Health, which shows that something as simple as living with flowers can significantly alleviate daily stress. The 2018 study, entitled, The Impact of Flowers on Perceived Stress Among Women, concludes that adding flowers to indoor environments results in a statistically significant and meaningful reduction in stress. Our findings are important from a public health perspective because adding flowers to reduce stress does not require tremendous effort to generate a meaningful effect.

These new findings about flowers are consistent with behavioral research conducted at Rutgers University that shows that a gift of flowers creates instant delight and heightens feelings of life satisfaction and enjoyment.

We all feel stress and finding simple, effective ways to reduce our stress is important for every one of us to consider. Our new research offers a solution: Having contact with nature, such as flowers, provides a much-needed moment of calm to help us slow down and recharge.

Thumbnail Photo

Random acts of kindness are a wonderful gesture, for both the receiver and the giver. Showing care and compassion for someone, or feeling cared for by someone can turn our day around, and even change our perspective. Can you imagine being able to experience both in one day? That’s just what more than 100,000 people across the country got to do today.

Through an effort called Petal It Forward, florists in more than 400 cities blanketed the streets of their local communities spreading joy to unsuspecting passersby by giving two bouquets to each person – one to keep, and one to give to a friend, family member, colleague, or even a stranger. This nationwide random act of kindness, organized by the Society of American Florists, was designed to help people start their day with more smiles and less stress, illustrating new research from the University of North Florida (UNF) that shows living with flowers reduces stress.

Petal It Forward is the floral industry’s way of giving back. The need for mood-boosting gestures is especially timely, considering these recent stats on stress: 68 percent of Americans experience stress weekly, and 32 percent report feeling stressed daily. Women are even more affected, with 25 percent reporting feeling stress multiple times a day. Through the positive effects of flowers, we wanted to make someone’s day brighter, and provide a much-needed moment of calm amidst the hectic pace of life.

While the findings on stress are new, Petal It Forward has been happening once a year since 2015, thanks to the generosity of flower growers, wholesalers and florists. The original idea behind the ‘keep one, share one’ concept came after looking at statistics that showed while 80 percent of people reported receiving flowers makes them happy, even more (88 percent) said that giving flowers makes them happy. We wanted to give people the chance to experience both.

Giving flowers is a gesture of connection. One that can bring people – even strangers – closer together. That’s exactly what we saw today, through the smiles, hugs, tears, and expressions of affirmation. And isn’t that what random acts of kindness are all about?”