Valentine's Day is coming up and my thoughts immediately turn to chocolate. Since I have chocolate in my oatmeal for breakfast every morning, I got to thinking about the alternative - flowers. According to an article in Psychology Today, flowers, not unlike chocolate, trigger all kinds of happy chemical reactions in our brains too.
Happy brain chemical #1 - Dopamine is triggered by the expectation of a reward. Flowers were a huge reward in our evolution because they marked the coming of abundance after a long hungry winter. Bright colors signaled valuable nutrition for our hunter-gather ancestors. They balanced their diet by scanning for spots of color.
Happy brain chemical #2 - Oxytocin creates the feeling of social trust. Flowers communicate the intention to invest effort in a relationship. And they convey a respect for fragility.
Happy brain chemical #3 - Serotonin is released when we advance our social importance. No one likes to admit they care about it, but failing to stimulate your serotonin makes us feel low. This is why we’re always looking for ways to trigger it. Many of our healthy social rituals exist to satisfy this natural urge.
So there you have it. A scientific case for throwing flowers into your oatmeal every morning if you don't have any chocolate on hand!
Flowers in My Oatmeal • 8" x 8" acrylic framed to 12" x 12" • $250