Friday, January 23, 2009

Happiness is Contagious

“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,”

That's what lead researcher Nancy Etcoff, Ph.D. from Harvard University has found to be true. She went on to say,

“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 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 garden 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 kitchens.

“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!”

I've included some photos below, to coordinate with Rebecca's descriptions.

Wouldn't it be amazing to wake up to fresh flowers in the Kitchen everyday?!

Here are Rebecca's ideas:

• Cut flower stems short and place 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, teacup, coffee tin or water pitcher for a burst of cheer.

• Select surprising color combinations to make a bold statement. For example, try red, yellow and purple stems in a grouping of small vases.

Or, use monochromatic flowers, from one color family, to create a simple, pleasing effect.

• Choose brightly-colored flowers for a happy 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 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.”


Three Birds Inspired said...

I am a firm believer that fresh flowers make you happy AND they are so welcoming. I treat myself weekly at either the grocery store or the florist and pick up enough to make small arrangements for the kitchen, living room and bath.

Kelley said...

love these simple arrangments and can't wait to try some! For Thanksgiving I spent $30 on flowers at Sam's- came home and made 7 bouquets. Some were better than others- but all were different and I had flowers in every room of the house! loved it!

Kiki said...

Flower story!
I asked my darling dear friend Edie the other day, how her day was, and as she was scanning my grocery items, she said, "It was a blah day!"~ And I said to her, "Yeah, ya know it was kind of a blah day! I feel like my energy has been a little low!"~ And so, I told her, "Please hold on sweets! I need to add one more thing!"~ And so, I pranced over to the flower bouqet area of orbs of lovely petals and picked up white roses! And I brought those roses back to the checkout isle, and the man next to me said, "Those are beautiful roses!" And I said, "Yes, indeed!"~ And Edie rung up the flowers, and I signed the reciept, and then I said to her, "These flowers are for you!"~ And she smiled, walked around, and gave me a big hug, and I said, "Beautiful flowers, for a beautiful lady!"~ Thanks for listening! Loves!

rustycupboard said...

Fresh flowers always make me happy. Especially when its 29 degress outside.

Stacey @ The Blessed Nest said...

I ADORE fresh flowers, and tend to go for all one type, or a monochromatic look. I try to get some every week or so! This is another reason why I enjoy gardening, and seeing blooms outside my windows!

Unknown said...

I'm off to buy some flowers! What a great thought, to include flowers in the kitchen, and even evidence that they help to start the day off right!

Dana and Daisy said...

I love that last photo! I love simple bouquet fresh from the garden, plopped in a mason jar, even!

Anonymous said...

As much as real flowers make me happy, I have to keep them outside. The cats loves to eat them, and you know what comes after that... yuk. I have a great window in the kitchen that looks out onto my only flower spot outdoors. The rest is woods for now. One day I would love to line the yard with flowers for every season. It's funny how such a simple thing can bring such pleasure.

Anna said...

I LOVE fresh flowers! They are great for your mood! I trick I got from Martha - when your planting your bulbs (or whatever flowers you plant) plant a seperate
"cutting garden" somewhere less noticeable and you have flowers to cut and decorate your house! I am definitely going to do this this year! Just looking at your pictures made me happier!! =)

~ Lisa @ AbidingThere~ said...

This is a great post - very helpful - thanks!

Tales From My Empty Nest said...

I totally agree with your comments on flowers. They make you feel so good!!! I love to have fresh flowers in the house. Costco has beautiful arrangements as well that are very reasonable.
Your blog is so much fun to read!
Love & blessings from NC!

Erin Southwell said...

GREAT post Layla! And right on the money-I wonder how much money that study cost the researchers :) Of course flowers make us happy! :) I try to buy flowers at my weekly grocery store trip-something inexpensive that I can divide up into small vases in different rooms. It's worth every penny.

orneryswife said...

Ah, yes. I do love fresh flowers, in any room of the house. Right now I have three amazing yellow roses in an old bud vase from my childhood atop a nightstand. They did start out in the kitchen, though, then moved to the dining room, before they came to rest in their current spot. They seem to be following me! :)

DomesticDivasFancy said...

I completely agree that flowers WILL perk up a room and you as well. I think I am going to go buy some flowers today, I need a perk up today. I love all those pictures. As a collector of coffee tins I love the tea tin with flowers the most and what a great idea.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Since most moms "live" in their kitchens, flowers in the kitchen make the most sense . . . biggest bang for your buck :-) Thanks for this awesome post!

lori vliegen said...

what a beautiful post! when i lived in brussels, i used to treat myself to fresh flowers on a regular basis. of course, i decided that the REAL treat was just going into all of those marvelous flower about eye candy!! :)

Anonymous said...

So there is a research study of the effect of flowers to people. :D
I also love flowers, having one always brings out some form of calmness inside the house. But you have to have your own garden to have a steady "supply" of them without spending that much. Nice pics too...

karlene said...

I might be where I am as a florist because of Rebecca, I LOVE her!!!! and of course, I love your post on flowers.

3 Peanuts said...

Years ago I read Dr Andew Weil's book on health and he said the same thing (flowers and live plants) make us feel better. I have tried to always have fresh flowers, orchids and plants in our home. It does brighten the mood and I see it as an investment n our health!

Teacats said...

So true! I LOVE fresh flowers -- but can't have them sitting on a low table or our four cats might decide to nibble on them! So I do have nice faux flowers too -- and add a fresh bouquet of herbs on the kitchen counter!

Jan at Rosemary Cottage

Natalia said...

You've inspired me to break up the bunch sitting on the kitchen table and spread them through out the house in smaller containers...let's see if it helps make cleaning it all feel better, hahaha!

-Nat :)

Casey said...


Love the story about the flowers. I know they are a pick me upper whenever I have them in the house. You have inspired me to keep a bouquet of flowers in the kitchen from now on. Daisies are my favorites...and I will be taking a stroll thru the flower section at my grocery store to keep up the flower suppply!! Of course any flowers are happy ones!! :) Thank you for your beautiful blog. You bring such joy and hope and happiness to my day!!