Cabin Fever and The Positive Psychology of Flowers

Cabin fever is the idiomatic term for the claustrophobic stir-craziness those of us in New England experience in the dark of mid-winter. If you have ever experienced it personally, you’ll find our definition superfluous. Though they recognize its symptoms, most doctors do not offer cabin fever as a technical psychiatric diagnosis. Instead they recognize SAD, seasonal affective disorder, a condition that plagues those in the Northeast who suffer from mood disruptions brought on by a seasonal lack of sunshine.

“This condition can result in pretty significant disturbance in social functioning, and it often does require treatment either with prescribed light therapy or with certain classes of anti depressant medications.” (

There are also other things you can do to stave off the winter blues:

Get outside – You’ll find life out there! Get outdoors especially when it is sunny and indulge in a little sun bath – take off your hat and tilt your head back.

Exercise – Stay active. If you are stuck at home indoors (as you might be during the Blizzard of 2015), do a yoga video, brush the dust off your P90X video, find your hula hoop. Exercise releases endorphins, your body’s own natural antidepressant.

Tryptophan – Eat foods rich in tryptophan. Our bodies convert tryptophan to serotonin, a feel-good neurotransmitter. Good mood foods include (say that three times fast): turkey, asparagus, spinach, tofu. Learn more about serotonin-rich foods for happiness and well being here.

Citrus – The scent of citrus has been shown to reduce stress. Eat a grapefruit, drink a Grapefruit Lilac Blossom Water. Both smell amazing and will boost your mood. Herbalists have known this since the invention of aroma, but science and conventional medicine are starting to catch on.

Color – Color psychology tells us that color effects our mood. Think about drab, gray-green hospital corridors and you’ll feel that effect. Colors can also have a positive influence on mood: orange stimulates and green enhances productivity, while grey inspires passivity.

Flowers – Spruce up your surroundings with live plants and flowers! This is our favorite method of cheering up winter dreariness. Some years ago the psychologists at Rutgers published a study about the emotional impact of flowers. The study was called “An Environmental Approach to Positive Emotion: Flowers.” You can read it here.

The psychology of flowers is not lost on us at Blossom Water. In fact it is our reason for being. Flowers make our founder, Steve Fortuna, happy. Very happy. He created Blossom Water as a vehicle for sharing this very delight. Try it on a cloudy day this winter. You might just find that delight. It will bring you a little sunshine.