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Bright Flowers Provide Welcome Relief From Winter Blues

Flowers Work Wonders.jpg
Flowers Work Wonders.jpg
For most, the full force of winter is a tolerable bugbear with minor associated annoyances like wet-weather driving and trying to remember where you left the umbrella. But for a sizeable minority, according to a recent New Zealand Herald report, winter means a recurrence of the potentially debilitating seasonal affective disorder (SAD), the symptoms of which include lethargy, irritability, insomnia, concentration difficulty and impaired memory. One of the best treatments for SAD, the report said, is exposure to sunlight.

With patches of sun being rare and precious in a New Zealand August, one company is proposing another solution for SAD. Flowers Work Wonders is giving away hundreds of thousands of flowers over the next month for those purposes, and to prove that even one flower can make a huge difference to mood.

“We believe that beautiful fresh flowers have the power to lift spirits and brighten up the day, in the same way that sunshine can,” says Floramax General Manager Andre Van der Kwaak. “And we have research on our side!”

A 2007 study conducted at Rutgers University in the United States found that the presence of flowers triggers happy emotions, heightens feelings of life satisfaction and affects social behavior in a positive manner. The researchers found that:

• Flowers have an immediate effect on happiness, a universal reaction that occurs in all age groups;

• Flowers have a long-term positive effect on moods. Study participants said they felt less depressed, anxious and agitated after receiving flowers;

• Flowers make intimate connections. The presence of flowers led to increased contact with family and friends. Mr Van der Kwaak says, “Flowers are an everyday mood enhancer – they have a surprisingly powerful influence on emotional wellbeing. They take us back to nature by reminding us of the seasons, which we know people living in cities can lose a sense of. Having flowers at home or in the office is a good way to battle SAD, because the colours are cheering and fresh flowers are a harbinger of spring and brighter days. And they don’t have to be lavish or expensive.”

Rather than flower type, the deciding factor when selecting blooms is usually colour. “It’s closely tied to mood – for instance, yellow is reminiscent of summer, sunshine and holidays,” Mr Van der Kwaak says.

Other meanings and associations:

• Dark red: symbolizes constancy, continuity and immortality;

• Green: expresses joy and optimism;

• Lilac: represents a sincere love, without the need for anything in return. It can refer to the love felt for lovers, family or friends;

• Orange: symbolizes joy and satisfaction with success already obtained. On a more sentimental note, it may represent a love that has already been consolidated and gratified;

• Red: too hot to handle, red is the expression of burning, passionate love, great courage and desire. It's also the symbol of anger;

• Rose (or pink): a symbol of youth, and expresses a new love or admiration;

• Violet: expresses feelings of modesty, generosity and humility. The ‘shrinking violet' refers to its symbol of insurmountable shyness;

• White: the symbol of purity, innocence and modesty, and expresses a sincere feeling. White can also be used when someone is waiting for news;

• Yellow: though commonly associated with unfaithfulness and treason, yellow can also be the symbol of luxury, pride and success;

• Blue: while light blue symbolizes anxiety over problems such as money and health, turquoise can mean fulfillment for those with great intelligence.

Mr van der Kwaak said Flowers Work Wonders was a floral industry concept created by FloraMax Flower Auctions (a division of Turners and Growers Fresh Ltd). Growers and retailers have been brought together to ensure people are aware of the amazing positive effect fresh flowers have on everyday life. Flowers Work Wonders is a national campaign and participating growers and retailers are dedicated to making sure flowers reach their buyers in the freshest possible state . . . ready to work their wonders!

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