Are Flowers Good For Your Health?

man-giving-woman-bouquet-flowers-4779623It is Spring, finally. The air is warm and breezy, and everywhere there is color. Grass and trees are green, and flowers are making a rainbow before our eyes.

For hundreds of years, men have brought women flowers as a gesture of romance. Now there is actual science to show that flowers really do affect mood and make women feel romantic,

A study done by Nicolas Gueguen of the Universite de Bretagne-Sud in France, and published in the journal “Social Influence,” found that females who had been sitting in a flower-covered room were much more likely to accept an invitation for a date than women sitting in an identical room without flowers.

What causes this romantic response in women exposed to flowers? Gueguen suggests that perhaps flowers act as environmental iStock_000014150618XSmallcues that affect a woman’s behavior and perception toward a man.

Other studies have shown relaxation is associated with exposure to nature, and increased activity in facial muscles associated with smiling have been evoked by images of flowers.

A behavioral study conducted at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital confirmed that people who generally do not describe themselves as morning people felt happier and more energetic after looking at flowers the first thing in the morning. Happiness, friendliness and warmth manifest much later in the day for people with morning blahs according to Nancy Etcoff, Ph.D. It was found that flowers at home impact people emotionally and they then felt less anxious and more compassionate. A boost of energy that lasted throughout the day was reported after viewing flowers in the morning in their homes, particularly in the kitchen.

Etcoff states “If you start the day in a more positive mood, you are likely to transfer those positive feelings to others – it’s what is called mood contagion”.guy-giving-flowers-111208

Jeanette Haviland-Jones, Ph.D. is a professor of psychology and director of the Emotions Laboratory at Rutgers University.

She believes that flowers support the so-called Big Bloom theory of evolution. Flowers cause positive emotions, and research shows that positive emotions make people better survivors from an evolutionary standpoint. This is because positive people are more likely to maintain social relationships, reproduce, find needed resources and be creative. Many flowers and plants rely on humans to fertilize them, nurture their growth and remove the weeds that would choke them to death. In return, they give us pleasure.

Scientifically, the way they repay us is that they have developed little chemical factories that decrease anxiety and improve our mood, says Haviland-Jones.

In studies Haviland-Jones and colleagues at Rutgers did, they found that women given flowers all smiled with true enjoyment, as determined by the smile being one associated with the raising of the cheeks and crinkling around the eyes. This type of smile is called the Duchene smile.

Couple  in love smiling. Over white background

This type of smile has been linked to positive emotion and related changes in the brain. At the end of the study, people who received flowers reported being happy but the people in the study who didn’t receive the flowers did not.

Overall, these studies showed that the presence of flowers triggers happy emotions, heightens feelings of life satisfaction, and affects social behavior in a positive manner.

Why is this related to romance? Because when you feel happy, satisfied and relaxed, you are capable of being open to lots of other positive and strong feelings, like love and sexual desire.

So giving flowers to your significant other is a very good way to ensure the flow of loving and aroused feelings, all of which are very good for your mental and physical health.

To Talk Dirt or Not to Talk Dirt, That is the Question…

To Talk Dirt or Not to Talk Dirt, That is the Question –

There’s an article in the current issue of Cosmo about how it seems that once you are in a serious relationship, it’s not ok to talk to your girlfriends about your SO if you have bad things to say.  The writer mentions that when in her twenties, she would gladly listen to friends complain about their current boyfriends, and she would quickly suggest they “dump the guy”.  But now that she’s been in love herself, she has a different viewpoint. She thinks that a girlfriend can help you sort things out when they’re not going well, but that they often don’t want to.  

I both agree and disagree with this.  Yes, friends can be a blessing when you really need someone to talk to, just to have them listen while you try and sort things through.  But all too frequently, friends chime in with their advice, which can be useful sometimes but can also often be wrong.  While they certainly have your best interests at heart, their advice is colored by their own experiences, and they may not be the same as yours at all.

imgres-1Also, because you love your friends and trust them, you may end up taking their advice and doing something that you end up regretting.  If you decide to end a relationship, you should be the one making the decision, not your friend.

More importantly, women often will complain to a girlfriend and not say anything to their partner about what’s bothering them.  The problem with this is it creates distance between you and doesn’t allow for your partner to make any changes.  It’s like that old saying that so many women have used about not wanting flowers from their man if they have to tell him they want them.  Of course, it’s obvious that if you don’t tell him, how is he supposed to know that that’s what you want?

In the situation with things you don’t like about him, or a specific problem you have with something he’s doing or not doing, the same thing applies.  Maybe he does know that you’re unhappy about whatever it is, but maybe he doesn’t.  If you complain to your girlfriend you may get it off your chest, and feel better at that moment, but this doesn’t fix the problem.  

The most important thing two people can develop to help have a solid, positive, and long-lasting relationship is good, open, honest communication.  Obviously it’s easier to just bitch and complain to sympathetic friends than to have to confront your partner and work through something difficult.  It’s only through that kind of work together that you grow as a couple and move closer to each other.  

This is doubly true in the bedroom, where any leftovers from earlier hurts or anger will work their way between the sheets.  By not talking about these together, they become a barrier and close you off from each other.  That makes for really bad sex.

So while letting off steam with a friend about a problem with your man is ok sometimes, be sure to starts by tackling the issue head on with your guy.  When you’ve cleared the air, you’ll both be feeling much more affectionate, and the bedroom will look much more appealing.