Rutgers: Flowers Improve Emotional Health

Experts recommend that people exercise and make lifestyle changes to reduce stress in today’s fast-paced, high-tech world. Research by the Rutgers State University of New Jersey shows that flowers greatly improve your emotional health. Flowers can trigger happy emotions, increase life satisfaction, and positively affect social behaviour.

Jeannette Haviland Jones, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology at Rutgers, the lead researcher in this study, said, “what’s most exciting about it is that it challenges established scientific belief about how people can manage daily moods in healthy and natural ways.”

Research Findings

In a 10-month-long study that examined participants’ emotional and behavioural responses to receiving flowers, researchers investigated the relationship between flowers and life satisfaction. The results showed that flowers could be a natural moderator of moods.

Flowers can have a positive impact on your happiness. Participants in the study expressed “true” or “excited” smiles when they received flowers. This was a sign of their profound delight and gratitude. This response was common across all age groups.

Flowers can have a positive long-term effect on moods. Study participants felt less anxious, depressed, and agitated after receiving flowers. They also reported greater enjoyment and satisfaction in their lives.

Flowers can create intimate connections. Flowers lead to closer contact with loved ones and friends.

Dr Haviland Jones stated that “common sense” tells us flowers make us happy. “Science now shows that flowers not only make us happier than what we think, but they also have strong positive effects on our emotional well-being span>

Sharing Space

The study also examined where flowers are displayed in the homes of respondents. The flowers were placed in areas that were accessible to guests, such as the foyers, living rooms, and dining rooms. This suggests that flowers are a symbol of sharing.

Dr Haviland Jones said that flowers could bring positive emotions to people who enter a space. “They make a space feel more inviting and encourage sharing span>


Jeannette M.Haviland-Jones, PhD, was the Project Director, Human Development Lab at the Rutgers State University of New Jersey. She conducted The Emotional Effect of Flowers Study. Dr Haviland Jones is a psychologist who is internationally recognized as an authority on the role of emotional development in human behaviour, nonverbal emotional signals, and response.

This research provides scientific support to what many believe to be common knowledge: that flowers positively impact the lives of those who receive them. The Society of American Florists collaborated with the Rutgers Research Team, providing expertise in flowers.

Study Participants

There were 147 participants, all of whom had similar age, education, career, and lifestyle. Because previous research on emotion has shown that women are more sensitive to moods, more open to participating in mood studies and more involved with emotional management at home and work, it was decided to focus on women.

Flower Deliveries

Participants in the study knew they would receive a gift but did not know what it would be. This was done to get an honest reaction to the gift to measure the immediate effect of flowers on mood.

Immediate Emotional Reaction

When the flowers were delivered, trained researchers assessed the participants’ emotional expressions and behaviour. Upon delivery, three different smiles and verbal reactions were recorded. To accurately measure the immediate reaction, the information was entered into a field computer within 5 seconds of flower delivery.

Polite Smile: This is most often used in quick acknowledgements or greetings. Except for raising the corners of your mouth, there is no discernible facial movement.

Genuine smile: When changes in behaviour indicate pleasure, this is called a true smile. It is also known as “true”, meaning the person is truly happy.

Excited Smile: This smile is a combination of excitement and happiness. This is the real smile. However, the eyebrows are raised to create horizontal wrinkles on the forehead.


To give the researchers a measurement baseline, participants were interviewed before receiving their gifts. The researchers then measured the participants’ feelings when they had flowers in their homes. Interviewers asked participants to rate their feelings over the last two to four days. This was done to gauge their general feelings. The participants were interviewed again a few days later, about 10 days after their first interview. This was to assess changes in feelings regarding flowers in the home.


Participants were asked the following questions: Diener’s and Lerner’s Life Satisfaction, Izards Differential Emotion Score, the Everyday Illness, and the Symptoms of Well-Being questionnaire. This covers entertainment, romance, relaxation and intimate, creative experiences.

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