Give the Gift of Flowers

Jan Fowler

is author of the best-selling book, “Hot Chocolate for Seniors”(winner of   national & international awards); winner of Gold Halo Award from the So. California Motion Picture Council for Outstanding Literary Achievement; winner of First Place Excellence in Journalism Award (SPJ –Southern CA); Town & Gown “Phenomenal Woman” Award; former television host & KSPA radio host of “Senior Living at its Best with Jan Fowler”; speaker, contributing author for “Savvy Women Revving Up for Success”;  founder of Starburst Inspirations, Inc. 501(c) (3) nonprofit which supports Redlands Drug Court.  Jan welcomes feedback and comments about her columns and invites you to leave her a message on her website.


“Give the Gift of Flowers”


Jan Fowler

I recently had the good fortune of receiving homemade soups and other nourishing donations of food from friends and neighbors who were concerned for me because I was uncharacteristically home with the flu for more than two weeks.  Yesterday, however, I finally felt well enough to gather up all the bowls, trays, and soup kettles which I had accumulated and return them to my caring friends.  But I knew that I couldn’t return them empty, yet I had nothing suitable on hand to fill them with. So I headed for Trader Joes, known for their colorful April celebration of springtime plants and flowers, where I bought each friend a bright and beautifully-potted pink or yellow tulip plant complete with colorful paper, ribbons, and bows.  Then I placed one brightly-colored plant inside each soup bowl or pot which I needed to return.

Well, I can’t begin to tell you how happy it made each of my neighbors and how they burst into joyous smiles and heartfelt thanks the moment they were handed the unexpected surprise of a bright and cheery colorful plant.

Over the years, flowers have become a symbol of love, beauty, affection, romance, and emotional endearment, with a message for everyone–husbands, wives, daughters, sons, bosses, coworkers, friends and lovers—that flowers promote harmony and help nurture the people we love.

Most of us would agree that flowers made us feel happier and that flower recipients experience an elevation in mood which can even last for days. According to a Rutgers University behavioral research study on the emotional impact of flowers, participants reported feeling less stressed or agitated when they had fresh flowers.  Similarly, a Harvard University study found that those who woke up and saw flowers first thing in the morning reported feeling a happy mood.

Flowers have been found to decrease depression and increase happiness and positive moods in senior citizens. Some findings indicate that seniors who received flowers socialized more with friends, neighbors, and even with the medical and religious staff. One study at Rutgers University reported that 72% of the 100 senior citizens involved who received flowers performed very high on memory tasks compared with senior citizens who were not flower-recipients.

It has also been noted that the problem-solving skills and creative performance of workers have been enhanced when their workplace settings were accented by plants and flowers.

Throughout history, Chinese healers have upheld the belief that flowers could be used to evoke whatever emotion you desire and that the true secret lies in the flower’s color.  The belief is that each color creates a different frequency of light-waves, thereby setting off a chain reaction of responses in the body.  Some involve neurotransmitters which serve to calm hormones, such as melatonin.  Others stimulate hormones such as adrenaline, or contain mood-boosting hormones like serotonin.

So whatever the color, I urge you to pick or buy a single flower or bouquet for yourself whenever possible, place the flower(s) in a vase, then set the vase on a table where you can enjoy its beauty each time you walk by it.  This is a gift which is easy to give ourselves.  For no matter how simple, flowers are mood elevators – capable of lifting our spirits, enriching our moments, and transforming our ordinary everyday lives through a beautiful and sometimes fragrant touch of magic.

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