Posts Tagged ‘stress relief’

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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?

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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.