Friday, May 02, 2003

According to a new study I read, you can reduce stress with floral fragrances. So I went right out and bought some candles. My reason for choosing one of the more dangerous ways to reduce stress, i.e., an open flame, is not the subject of this entry, however.

In the study, scientists hid floral scented dryer sheets in participant’s homes and kept track of their stress levels with and without. When the dryer sheets were hidden in their homes, participants experienced a 15% reduction in stress, on average. How would you like to wake up and say to your mate, “I feel 15% less stressed this week, on average”? Sounds pretty good to me.

That inspired me to do research about other ways to reduce stress, which brings me to a 1996 study published in the Journal of Environmental Horticulture. Having plants in the room increased worker productivity by 12%. Their blood pressure rose 2 points instead of 4 during a stressful task, and they also reported being 10% more attentive after a stressful task than those without plants, who were 0% more attentive. Apparently plants cause stressed-out, inattentive humans to become more relaxed and focused, more productive. So there you go. Get a plant, and maybe you’ll need less Ritalin. And maybe not.

The funny thing about this study is that, being the Journal of Environmental Horticulture, they didn’t bother to measure how the plants were doing after being exposed to all of this stress. After reading this study, though, I think I have figured out why all of my plants die slow and agonizing deaths. I am draining them of their life force. When it comes to my relationships with plants, I take more than I give. I am toxic to plants! They can probably sense that I am headed their way and they are like, “Sheesh, here she comes. I feel 10% less healthy when she’s in the room with me. Soon I will develop a slowly-progressing fatal disease of some kind.”

I’m not sure what to do about this, except to dump more fertilizer on them. But I suppose that if I ever have healthy plants, it might mean that I have finally moved to a better place, emotionally and spiritually. But who cares? Plants go on sale all of the time.