By Molly Dunn
There’s something about Valentine’s Day that seems to make people happier. With each box of chocolates, bouquet of flowers and heartfelt card bought during this time of year comes added emotional health benefits [PDF].
“When you walk into a room and you see flowers, they automatically make you feel better. Your spirits are lifted,” Lori Genous, director of wellness at Baylor, said.
Genous sited a study issued by “Evolutionary Psychology,” a peer-reviewed journal, in April 2005 regarding the emotional impact of receiving flowers. In the study, flowers proved to immediately improve an individual’s happiness, have a positive long-term effect on an individual’s mood and allow individuals to make intimate connections with one another.
The study proposed in its conclusion that flowers are positive emotional improvers.
“Flowers prime positive psychological responses because they are ‘super stimuli,’ directly affecting moods through multi-channel sensory interactions,” the study states.
Baylor students can see and understand the emotional impact firsthand by giving and receiving flowers and gifts during Valentine’s Day.
“You get really excited and you’re excited to spend time with them,” said Zionsville, Ind., sophomore Aubrey Fink.
Cate Westenhover, Austin junior, said she enjoys giving and receiving Valentine’s gifts.
“It’s definitely cool to know that somebody is thinking about you,” Westenhover said.
On campus, faculty and students can contribute to this boost of emotions by going to the Valentine’s Day Extravaganza from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday in the Armstrong Browning Library to share a romantic evening with someone. Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.browninglibrary.org/ for $50 per couple and $30 per individual.
There are other options to uplift spirits.
Harts ’n Crafts is selling Valentine’s Day cards that can be given to friends, family and loved ones.
Genous said when people receive a gift, be it big or small, they feel a stronger connection with the person who gave it to them.
“If you are receiving [flowers] from somebody, you automatically feel closer to them,” Genous said. “It makes you want to pick up the phone, or text, or have some type of contact with them after receiving flowers.”
As Valentine’s Day nears, more and more individuals are expected to become happier as flowers and gifts are given, even those who initiate the giving.
“Really anybody any age would appreciate receiving flowers,” Genous said. “I think when you start talking about giving, you almost feel, as the giver, as good about giving as the receiver feels about receiving. I think the benefits are on both ends when you think about it that way.”
Students share the same mentality when it comes to giving and receiving.
“I always feel like giving is better than receiving because it’s like a present to you when you make someone’s day because you feel really good about what you’ve done,” Fink said.
Genous said the department of wellness spoke encouraging words and compliments to students around campus last semester in honor of depression awareness month. The same concept can be applied to Valentine’s Day.
“In a second’s time it was amazing how their disposition changed, their posture changed, everything was just a 180,” Genous said. “It doesn’t have to be tangible, but if you can say something to someone else that makes them feel better about themselves, that’s just as important.”
From Genous’ own life, she has seen a positive change in moods around her during Valentine’s Day.
“I have had people send me pictures of flowers that they have gotten and they are so excited and they’re giddy almost,” Genous said. “It kind of makes them feel like a little kid at Christmas. They feel someone thinks they are worthy of receiving flowers.”