We've been arranging flowers since the dawn of time. In fact, archaeological evidence shows that the ancient Egyptians decorated tombs and churches with delicate floral bouquets; and written history shows that pretty much every culture on earth has taken part in the practice of flower arranging at some point in time.
For many years, we just assumed that humanity's obsession with floral arrangements was a direct consequence of nature's beauty: Flowers are bright, vibrant and delicate, so it seemed reasonable to assume that we'd be drawn to them for purely aesthetic reasons.
Recent science points to a deeper link though. Research carried out by Rutgers University and a handful of other, equally well-renowned research institutions suggests that flowers actually elicit a direct response from our brains: Triggering cascades of happy chemicals and keeping stress at bay.
If you were looking for an excuse to fill your home or office with floral arrangements, we've listed 5 proven benefits below:
A 10-month study conducted by Dr. Haviland-Jones of Rutgers University has shown that viewing flowers instantly elevates your mood.
During the study in question, participants were given flowers at random intervals and then asked to report their levels of satisfaction or well-being. Almost everyone involved in the study said that they felt happier after receiving flowers, and a substantial amount also reported feelings of elation, excitement, and gratitude.
To Dr. Haviland-Jones, this suggests that seeing flowers could trigger the release of dopamine and other feel-good chemicals in our brain, and the effects are so profound that scientists are now exploring the use of flowers as a genuine treatment for depression and anxiety
There's a reason that chamomile and lavender essential oils are used to promote relaxation: Many of the natural scents produced by flowers have a calming effect on the body, and breathing in the smell of a floral arrangement has been shown to trigger the release of feel-good chemicals that can help you to unwind.
A research paper published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology also showed that just viewing a bunch of 30 unscented roses could help to reduce your heart rate.
The exact mechanism that delivers this effect isn't fully understood, but researchers think that being able to reconnect with nature and observe something detached from the stresses of our busy modern lives is enough to promote relaxation in its own right, and we'd be hard-pressed to argue!
Tests conducted by the University of Lübeck show that the scents produced by certain flowers could also aid in memory formation.
In fact, people exposed to the scent of roses were shown to have a higher-than-average chance of recalling information that they were given moments before being exposed to the scent, and scientists are now exploring opportunities to use floral scents as long-term memory boosters.
This doesn't mean that filling your office with flowers will stop you from forgetting your keys, but it does mean that consistent exposure to some flowers could help your brain to build strong neural pathways, and develop more memories.
A study published in Evolutionary Psychology showed that giving people a flower while traveling with them in an elevator encouraged positive social interactions and a greater chance of bonding behaviour.
These findings were tested by replicating the study with promotional pens and other gifts, but no other item was found to be as effective as a flower, suggesting that nature's blooms hold a special ability to encourage socialization.
Whether this is because we find them comforting, uplifting or relaxing isn't really known yet, but you can still take advantage of their natural powers by placing flower arrangements in rooms to encourage social behaviour.
An eight-month study conducted by Texas A&M University showed that employees performed better in a variety of creativity tests if they viewed flowers before starting. Again, this could be linked to the naturally-uplifting nature of flowers or some deep-seated chemical response, but the point is that if you want to encourage creativity in the office or home, a bunch of fresh flowers may be an effective solution.
These results were tested using a variety of different flowers too, so it's up to you how you decorate!
If you have any questions about the studies that we've cited here, or you want to know more about decorating with flowers, we'd be more than happy to help you out. We have years of experience with flower arrangements, and we'd be well-placed to help you create a stunning visual centrepiece for the office or home.