Sympathy Flowers – A Psychological Analysis

Sympathy Flowers – Introduction

Sympathy flowers are examples of some of the earliest gifts in human history. To primitive man, little was more beautiful or mysterious than a flower, and so they became a tradition as a gift of sorts. This might have been as simple as a caveman scratching his head, grunting something in appreciation, and violently tearing the plant out of the ground to drag back to his mate, but the appeal was there nonetheless.

As civilization progressed beyond the stage where a sharpened rock was considered a staggering feat of technical engineering, the use of flowers in culture progressed along with it. A flower could be used as decoration in someone’s hair or on their festival clothing, or quite possibly to reduce the pungent aroma of livestock and sweat from their living room when the in-laws came to visit.

Another use that developed was that of sympathy flowers. The earliest psychologists were men or women who did something, noticed the reaction, and then made a note to do that thing again in the future if they desired a similar reaction. Being given flowers made people feel good, so others realized that a sad or ill friend might become better if they were presented with them.

Thus began the tradition of giving sympathy flowers to the ill or bereaved. Perhaps the earliest examples were at funerals and burial ceremonies. Presenting the family or friends of a lost loved one with sympathy flowers helped to lessen the blow and to strengthen communal bonds. These traditions have carried over to modern times and the psychology behind them remains as sound as ever.

Sympathy Flowers – Psychology 101

Repeated scientific and psychological studies have proven that people like to be given things. Although this is not exactly breaking news, it still serves as the basis for all logic behind gift-giving. The fact that people like to be given things can be benevolently exploited to improve their moods during a time of crisis or despair. To first understand how this works, one must also learn how happiness itself comes to be.

One of the chief factors involved in mood are the levels of endorphins produced in the brain. Positive stimuli increase the amount of endorphins that are produced, which increase the level of happiness a person feels through a complex chemical reaction. We’ll spare you a lesson on genetics and biology and simply state that this fact is what leads into the use of sympathy flowers to make people better.

As an example, consider a person who has broken their leg in a bicycle accident. They are confined to the hospital for several days while the bone sets and begins healing, and aren’t able to venture outside. Once the thrilling novelty of hospital food and the coughing old man in the bed next to them wears off, depression is very likely to set in as a result of negative stimuli.

That’s where sympathy flowers come in. If you arrange for delivery or personally bring a fresh bouquet or floral basket, you’ll be bringing a bit of nature into the hospital room. It’s clinically proven that the presence of flowers has a healing effect on people. We are creatures of nature, after all, and even though we might live in enormous concrete boxes that reach into the sky, we still need to be outside from time to time.

Seeing a bouquet of sympathy flowers thus generates a bit of the feelings one would get from being outside. This can trigger the release of more endorphins, and thus elevated levels of happiness. Of course, the fact that they look and smell nice doesn’t hurt either.

Sympathy Flowers – Additional Benefits

Sympathy flowers can have additional benefits to the sick or bereaved. Plants are nature’s air filters. They take in carbon dioxide and produce clean oxygen as a result. If you place a few live plants in a stuffy hospital or bedroom, the cleaner air can actually help to speed along a person’s recovery.

In the case of funerals, the families of the deceased will benefit from the social bonding aspect of sympathy flowers. By showing you care and that they are on your mind, you help to reassure them in a time of vulnerability and doubt. This can be critical in helping them recover, and makes a perfect reason to purchase sympathy flowers.

Sympathy Flowers – Concluding Advice

Sympathy flowers make a great gift for anyone suffering from injury, illness, or personal loss. You can enhance their effectiveness, however, if you include additional gifts. A card with a personal message written inside can really do the trick, and is a popular choice amongst many people.

Your local florist will be able to put together a suitable arrangement of sympathy flowers based on your specifications, which should help to guarantee a short road to recovery for any recipient.

Copyright (c) 2008 Brant Florist

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