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Positive effects of flowers and nature on mental health

A Counselling psychologist Mr Stephen Mbuthia has underscored the need for people to embrace flowers as a therapeutic method of solving mental disturbances and helping them to remain calm.

Stephen Mbuthia in his flowers nursery in Murang’a. Photo by Florence Kinyua

The 55-year-old who is also a florist and a professional landscaper from Kiriani, Murang’a divulged that having flowers or greenery in their spaces, people can be relieved from anxiety and depression emanating from the worries of everyday life.

“The language of flowers is unique. Ensure you have a green space in your home, or even some cut fresh flowers that you can see first thing in the morning and your wellbeing will be significantly impacted,” he further noted.

The florist expounded that the shape of flowers, the smell, the feel, the fresh arrangement and the colour of flowers can speak a language that no words can speak to the receiver or the person handling them.

“It has been proven that flower blooms elicit biochemical changes in the body impacting happiness and help to alleviate feelings of depression and anxiety while also boosting productivity and creativity in the body. Even in workplaces there are specific flowers that can be used to increase productivity and also release work related anxiety and stress,” he stressed.

Mbuthia opined that from studies it has been noted that when people are stressed they release a stress hormone called cortisol and engaging in flowers by smelling and tending to them can reduce cortisol levels and help one feel more relaxed.

He also noted that the colour of the flowers matters too and people should put into consideration the colour when filling their spaces with flowers.

“Flowers with bright colours such as yellow are great mood boosters while green spaces have calming effects to the human eye,” he says.

Markedly, there are flowers meant for homes and offices. For example, if you find the chevuraria flower in any office you know that you are welcome.

Flowers, he adds can also heal and that is why while visiting a patient in hospital one may carry a bouquet of flowers as it reduces the recovery time by creating a sense of wellbeing in the patient such that conditions like blood pressure, heart rate and feelings of exhaustion and fatigue are reduced.

Mbuthia’s flower nursery has over 20 flower species, 10 grass species, and 7000 tree seedlings ready for planting in schools, hotels and homes and he knows all the plants by name.

“Some of the flowers that can calm anxiety and reduce stress include orchids, which is a very attractive flower and can be used as cut flowers or as potted plants. They are also used as eye catching bridal bouquets,” he notes

Another widely used flower is the Geranium which is the most versatile of all flowers as it comes in various colours and sizes and is used in aromatherapy because they release calming scents that reduce anxiety, depression, anger, irritability and sometimes even tension headaches. Moreover, roses come in many colours, shapes and scents

They are over 100 varieties of roses in the world and some can be grown as houseplants, while others must be planted outside in order to bloom

“Admittedly roses are the most powerful symbols of love and romance and according to research, when a person sees a rose, oxytocin which has been proven in studies to reduce stress is produced,” the florist reveals adding their scent is also associated with improved moods and happiness.

Mbuthia says Lavender and Tulips are known to produce natural chemicals that help regulate moods and should be a perfect choice for calming people with anxiety and depression.

By Florence Kinyua

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