Flowers boost mood, especially for seniors

March 31, 2013 at 5:08 PM
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PISCATAWAY, N.J., March 31 (UPI) -- Flowers have a lasting effect on people -- especially the elderly -- and can improve mood in a positive manner, a U.S. researcher says. said Jeannette Haviland-Jones, a professor of psychology, and colleagues at Rutgers University found women who were given flowers all smiled with true enjoyment -- a type of smile called the Duchenne smile that is associated with the raising of the cheeks and crinkling around the eyes.

Such a 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 people who instead received candles as gifts did not. Those who received flowers also had spent more time with others and got around to doing social activities they had been putting off.

In another study, Haviland-Jones and her team handed out flowers or pens to elevator riders. People who got flowers broke the usual elevator behavior of standing as far back as possible and looking up at the changing numbers or down at the floor. Those who received the flowers moved closer to the middle of the elevator, smiled the Duchenne smile of true enjoyment and initiated conversation.

In further research, the team found the more flowers older adults received, the happier they were.

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