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K-State Today

October 20, 2021

Horticulture classes spread smiles and stress relief, two flower stems at a time

Submitted by Chad Miller

Petal It Forward Image

K-State has joined the nationwide effort to "Petal It Forward."

Today and tomorrow, the K-State horticulture and natural resources department is joining dozens of floral industry businesses nationwide to surprise unsuspecting passersby on campus and in Manhattan with two free flowers each — one to keep and one to give to a friend, family member, colleague or even a stranger. The random-acts-of-kindness effort — called Petal It Forward and organized by the Society of American Florists — is designed to help people have more smiles and less stress in their day. The effort illustrates research from the University of North Florida that shows living with flowers reduces stress.

"Petal It Forward is the floral industry's way of giving back," said Elizabeth Daly, the society's manager of marketing and communications, citing the effort was purposefully planned for a Wednesday to help the mid-week slump.

Irina Sheshukova, certified floral designer and instructor in the horticulture and natural resources department, wanted to be a part of the mood-boosting effort and make a difference in the community.

"Through the positive effects of flowers, we hope to make someone's day brighter and provide a much-needed moment of calm amidst the hectic pace of life," Sheshukova said.

The research findings on flowers and stress relief, and the need for mood-boosting gestures, seem timely: A survey by Wakefield Research in July showed that 68% of Americans experience stress weekly, and 32% report feeling stressed daily. Women are even more affected, with 25% reporting feeling stress multiple times a day.

Sheshukova says the original idea behind Petal It Forward's "keep one, share one" concept, which started in 2015, came after looking at statistics that showed while 80% of people reported receiving flowers makes them happy, even more — 88% — said that giving flowers makes them happy.

"We want to give people the chance to experience both," Sheshukova said. "Flowers connect us to nature and each other. Let's share that connection by Petal it Forward."

In addition to the research on stress, previous behavioral studies conducted by Rutgers and Harvard scientifically demonstrate the positive impact flowers have on emotional well-being. For information on the effects of flowers on stress research, visit aboutflowers.com/stressless. For research on all of the health benefits of flowers, visit aboutflowers.com/research.

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