Flowers can help alleviate anxiety and pain, so go ahead and buy that bouquet
Buying flowers is the go-to gesture when you’re trying to cheer someone up or to let them know you are thinking about them. They are a day-brightener for sure, but now there’s one more reason to buy them for ourselves and those we love — they’ve been shown to reduce pain and anxiety.
The American Society for Horticulture Science performed a study to determine whether plants have positive therapeutic effects on people who were recovering from surgery and the results were pretty astounding. Researchers studied 90 patients recovering from appendectomies who were randomly split into rooms either with plants or without plants and measured their physical and psychological responses.
What they found was those who had flowers and plants in their rooms “had significantly fewer intakes of postoperative analgesics, more positive physiological responses evidenced by lower systolic blood pressure and heart rate, lower ratings of pain, anxiety, and fatigue, and more positive feelings and higher satisfaction about their rooms when compared with patients in the control group.”
This isn’t the first research to study the effects of flowers on humans. An 11-year study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found leisure activities like gardening have been shown to have the same benefits as hitting the gym. It revealed that as little as one hour a week of “leisure-time physical activity,” like spending time with your plants, can be as healthy for you as a workout, with the added bonus of not spending time around sweaty strangers.
Obviously, indoor plants don’t have the exact same health benefits as digging around in your garden but they have been shown to improve air quality, reduce stress, and even “induce positive changes in the brain’s electrical activity, heart activity, and muscle tension.”
If you are anything like me, flowers can sometimes cause stress rather than relieve it because you have the added pressure of keeping something else alive. I’ve managed to find a workaround and have a windowsill full of succulents — all the beauty with none of the maintenance. It’s a win-win for all.
Others I know have fresh bouquets of flowers in their homes at all times and say the blooms make their houses feel more “homey,” brighten up their days, and make them happy just by looking at them. They are basically like our kids but without the backtalk. Plus, with so many varieties and colors of flowers and blooming plants available, there’s sure to be something for everyone.
“If properly maintained, indoor plants can provide a great opportunity for patients to experience nature in all seasons when outdoor scenery cannot provide this benefit,” the study concluded. Researchers also suggest that flowers should be “complementary medicine” for recovering patients, ad a much more natural one at that.
No need to wait until you are recovering from surgery — today seems like the perfect day to go out and treat yo’self to a giant bouquet.