Harvard Research Shows Flowers Are the Perfect Pick-Me-Up to Boost Morning Moods

Top Floral Designer Offers Quick, Simple 'How-To's'

on Fashioning Flowers for Positive Moods in the Morning

Oct 17, 2007, 01:00 ET from Society of American Florists

    ALEXANDRIA, Va., Oct. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Recent research
 confirms that flowers might be the perfect pick-me-up for millions of
 Americans who do not consider themselves "morning people." Participants of
 a behavioral study conducted by researchers at Harvard University and
 Massachusetts General Hospital confirmed that they feel least positive in
 the early hours but reported being happier and more energetic after looking
 at flowers first thing in the morning.
     "The morning blahs, it turns out, is a real phenomenon, with positive
 moods -- happiness, friendliness and warmth, for example -- manifesting
 much later in the day," says lead researcher Nancy Etcoff, Ph.D.
 "Interestingly, when we placed a small bouquet of flowers into their
 morning routines, people perked up."
     Dr. Etcoff is referencing the fact that participants in the study
 responded to the flowers, which had been placed in rooms they frequented in
 the morning. Overall, the participants reported that they liked to look at
 the blooms first thing in the morning, particularly in the kitchen. The
 final study results demonstrate that flowers impact people emotionally at
 home, causing them to feel less anxious and more compassionate. They even
 reported a boost of energy that lasted through their day.
     "What I find interesting is that by starting the day in a more positive
 mood, you are likely to transfer those happier feelings to others -- it's
 what is called mood contagion," says Etcoff. "And, the kitchen is the place
 where families tend to gather in the morning -- imagine how big a
 difference a better morning mood can make."
     New York City floral and interior designer Rebecca Cole, host of
 Discovery Channel's Surprise by Design, is not surprised by these findings.
 "I grew up with a kitchen often decorated with flowers," says Cole. "My
 family knew instinctively that flowers brought joy to the people who came
 in contact with them -- and now there is scientific proof."
     Cole shares her floral design experience with others, showing them how
 to use flowers to capture emotion and encourage community in their
     "There are so many places for flowers in the kitchen -- the room where
 we spend most of our waking time," says Cole. "From the breakfast nook to
 the table to the countertop, flowers just belong. It's even the most
 convenient room to change the water!"
     Whether you visit the supermarket or elicit the help of your florist,
 Cole suggests the following tips for experimenting with color, trying new,
 dramatic styles and creatively using containers.
     -- Cut flower stems short and place the flowers in interesting or
        everyday kitchen containers such as tea tins, jelly jars, salt
        and pepper shakers or even pretty wine glasses.  Pick something
        to match your personal style.
     -- To make a big "wow" statement, choose lots of one type of flower.
        Take off the leaves below the waterline and place them in a big jug,
        teapot, coffee tin or water pitcher for a burst of cheer.
     -- Select surprising color combinations to make a bold statement.  For
        example, try red and purple stems in grouped vases.  Or, use
        monochromatic flowers, from one color family, to create a simple,
        pleasing effect.
     -- Choose citrus-colored flowers for a sunny feeling.  Place a bud vase
        holding a few stems of yellow and orange blooms inside a bowl filled
        with oranges. Or, place a narrow vase of flowers inside a wider, but
        equally tall, vase. Fill the larger vase with lemons or limes to
        surround the smaller vase for a fresh look.
     -- Play off of the accent colors in your kitchen to bring a splash of
        color with flowers. Look around and match flowers to decorative wall
        plates, placemats or curtains to pull out key accent colors.
     -- Line three bud vases or decorative bottles, low or tall, along the
        middle of your kitchen table or along your sink for a fun, dramatic
        effect.  It's also a great conversation starter when guests drop by.
     -- Inspire neatness.  Place flowers where kitchen clutter typically
        congregates to prevent future messes from settling there.
     "What could be simpler than bringing home a few blooms to brighten your
 kitchen table and your mood?" says Cole. "Experiment, design and smile."
     For more advice, visit http://www.flowerpossibilities.com and
     For floral photography, go to http://www.aboutflowers.com/media.
     The Home Ecology of Flowers Research Methodology (2006)
     Nancy Etcoff, Ph.D., of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts
 General Hospital, and her research team investigated the effects of flowers
 in the home environment on well being. Fifty-four people, ages 25 to 60,
 were studied using a series of self-reporting measures allowing the
 research team to know where the subjects were, with whom and what they were
 doing when they experienced an emotion, both when flowers were and were not
 present. Half of the participants received a "control" home decor item,
 other than flowers, to ensure the study's validity. After living with
 either flowers or the control intervention for approximately one week,
 participants rated their feelings during specific periods of the day,
 recording their emotions during each episode. The research team also took
 photographs before and after flowers were delivered to determine any
 changes in the use or appearance of the room.

SOURCE Society of American Florists