Flower Benefits Including Stress Relief - Stop and smell the flowers!
If thereʼs anything which mankind has appreciated since the very beginning, it is the beauty of flowers. Long before we were painting buffalo on cave walls or drumming on hollow logs, flowers were there for us to breathe in the fragrance and admire the colors.
Itʼs no wonder that every single culture around the world has its own way of treasuring flowers.
Think back to the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. One of those was the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, full of irrigated tiers of lush foliage and beautiful flowers. Just the sight of these gardens would bring ease to a travelerʼs soul. Think of the famous castles and great homes around the world. They nearly always have gardens around them, showcasing a wide array of fountains and plants.
Just why are flowers so entwined with human feelings of comfort? The answer is that flowers soothe every one of our five senses.
Flowers and Sight
We know that looking at pleasing things can bring calm to a troubled heart. Our brain is conditioned to soothe and ease when we gaze on beauty. With the myriad of flower options out there, there is sure to be some sort of a flower which connects with each personʼs sense of attractiveness. Some people adore the fluffy look of red roses. Others prefer the elegance of a curving orchid. Some like the playful abandon of a field of daisies. Others admire the stately height of a sunflower.
Flowers come in every color under the sun. Tangerine marigolds. Bright yellow buttercups. Pale blue forget-me-nots. And think of all the flowers which have become color names in their own right. Rose. Violet. Lilac.
Just admiring the sight of a flower can naturally reduce stress. That is why many forms of meditation involve staring at a single flower bud in a vase.
Flowers and Fragrance
If thereʼs anything which most flowers are known for, in addition to looking pretty, itʼs their lush aroma. Each one can signify a different mood. Roses are romantic and sensual. Lavender is calming and restful. Orange blossoms are lively and energizing.
Studies find that our memories are often tightly entwined with aromas. Just the merest hint of our grandmotherʼs favorite perfume of lily of the valley can bring back a wealth of memories involving our times visiting her. If you build a routine with a scent combination that you find to be quite soothing – perhaps chamomile and lavender, for example – then just the scent of that combination will draw your mind into a more relaxed state.
Flowers and Taste
Edible flowers are absolutely amazing. They look stunning on the plate and then add a delicious aspect to the meal as well. Borage is a beautiful blue flower which has been used in elegant dishes for hundreds of years. Hibiscus is a great flower to use in making cocktails.
Flowers and Touch
Petal-soft skin. The phrase just brings to mind the gentlest of sensations. Sure, some roses have thorns, but that only makes the flowers themselves that much more precious. Most flowers have a delightfully soft and silky aspect to them. You can see why people would twine them into bracelets and hair decorations. Bouquets are always nice as well.
Flowers and Hearing
This might seem the most far-fetched of the ways in which we interact with flowers. But wait, do not give up on the beautiful flower yet! For it turns out a flower plant can, in fact hear, and that in many cases the blossom acts as the ear. You see, it would be wasteful if a flower poured all its energy into making nectar even when bees werenʼt around. The flower needs that nectar to be carried to neighboring flowers by the bees. It doesnʼt want the nectar randomly gobbled up by passing bugs. So what at least some flowers do is to listen for the bee wings. When it hears the vibration of bee wings nearby, within three minutes it has increased its nectar production. That way the bee – or perhaps some of its bee- friends – will be lured in to gather some pollen.
Flowers are more aware than we might think.
And flowers do make sounds as well. Their systems make pops and clicks which most human ears find nearly impossible to detect. The noises relate to the health of the plant.
Which brings us back around to flowers and stress relief. The more we tune into flowers with all of our senses, the more our bodies naturally relax.
Flowers and Stress Relief
Gather up a few flowers from your yard or from a market. If at all possible, get them in a pot so they can stay alive for a while. A bouquet will do if that isnʼt an option. If fresh flowers are just not available to you in any form, find an image of flowers instead.
Find a quiet place to sit. If possible, wear comfortable clothing. You can sit on a cushion on the floor, on a chair, on a mat, on a sofa, or you can even lie down. The important part is that you are comfortable and as pain-free as possible.
Have the flowers somewhere before you where you can easily see them.
Take in a long, deep breath, breathing in to the upper chest, middle chest, and lower abdomen. Let them stomach fill out like a balloon.
Breathe out your air, out, out, out, all of that carbon dioxide which is left-over from your bodyʼs activities. You no longer need it or want it. But the flowers adore it. To a flower, carbon dioxide is the sweetest nectar in the world, full of delicious overtones. And in gratitude for receiving in carbon dioxide, the flower will create fresh, pure, nourishing oxygen for you.
Breathe it in. Breathe in the fresh oxygen. Feel it nourishing your blood. Your muscles. Your skin. The oxygen draws into your lungs, wriggling its way into all 600 million of your alveoli. These tiny air sacs are where that oxygen slips from your incoming breath into your blood system. It is sending waves of nourishing power all throughout you.
Breathe out. Your body is releasing its carbon dioxide, shaking that loose, and providing it to the flowers. The carbon dioxide is what the flower crave. All plants need it to live. You are sending waves of energy to them. You are nourishing them. Breathe in again, focusing on that breath. Think of the beauty of the flower which is nourishing you. Admire the shape and color of the flower. Consider its fragrance. Perhaps even stroke a petal or leaf. This entire plant is part of your world.
Breathe out. Release those toxins which to a plant are sheer joy. The plant is cleansing your world. Rejuvenating it. Recycling the air into something new and fresh and wonderful.
When thoughts flit in, observe them and let them go. They are just thoughts. Your attention returns to your breath. To the oxygen flowing in. To the carbon dioxide flowing out. To the plant partner which is there by your side, participating in this exchange with you.
When at last you have finished your session, offer gentle gratitude to the plant who shared your time. Put it somewhere safe and special, so it will be available for your next session.