The best physical results come when you take care of the whole person — mind, body and spirit! You could say I am a big fan of anything that will help change your mood and attitude, like affirmations, meditation and, yes, flowers too. In Minnesota, where things have been pretty drab and covered with snow for months, it is mood-changing to see all the flowers and foliage blooming.
People have cultivated flowers for more than 5,000 years. They spend countless hours planting, weeding, fertilizing, arranging, painting, taking pictures of and buying/selling flowers. Furthermore, it turns out that flowers are more than just a “thing of beauty.” Research shows that women who are given flowers enjoy a more positive mood for a full three days after they receive them. When flowers are presented to the elderly, they not only report happier moods, but also report having a better memory. As you can see, flowers have an immediate and lasting effect on how we feel and react, so try using flowers and plants to help you in your quest for a healthier lifestyle. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Make a small investment in flowers for your environment.
We all know that trying to change lifestyle behaviors and lose weight can be stressful. Juggling our schedules, resisting temptations and changing long-standing habits add extra stress to our lives, even though the ultimate rewards are great.
A vase of fresh flowers or a beautiful plant can make you feel better and keep you in that elevated mood, making you more likely to make good lifestyle choices. I’m not talking about a huge investment in grandiose arrangements; this is an area where you can reap big rewards from a small gesture. A small indoor plant or even a few cut flowers from your garden can make a difference. I will actually buy one less food item at the grocery store (something we don’t actually need) and substitute it with a bouquet of fresh flowers, which I put on my kitchen’s center island and enjoy all week long.
Take up gardening.
Gardening time is coming into its prime for those of us in the Midwest — those of you in more Southern states have probably already started on your gardens. Keep in mind that the benefits of doing some gardening outside are two-fold.
First, you’ll reap the mood-elevating benefits of the beautiful flowers and plants you cultivate.
And, second, gardening can be a great form of exercise. Carrying flats of flowers and bags of soil back and forth, weeding and turning over the soil all burn calories and work muscles that you may not otherwise be using. Believe me, I spent three hours the other day spreading mulch over my gardens, and boy could my arms and legs feel it the next day. An hour of gardening (based on a 150 pound woman) will burn approximately 250 calories. Keep in mind that any weight-bearing activities like digging, carrying and lifting will help build muscle too.
Get familiar with local public gardens.
If there is a community garden or local botanical garden, take advantage and incorporate it into your lifestyle. Botanical gardens are often great places to walk and run. They’re full of interesting paths, and the beautiful change of scenery could be just the motivation you’ve been needing. Public gardens can also be great places to meditate and reflect, both necessary parts of a healthy routine.