I read in Martha Stewart Magazine about a study at Rutgers University in which the act of receiving flowers lessens stress and promotes more positive moods. It sounded like a no-brainer - I mean, who isn't elated to receive flowers?! - so I looked up the study (here: http://perrysperennials.info/articles/relieve.html), and found that it is more researched than I thought. Flowers, through their beauty, colors, and smells, can elevate your moods for many days just by having them around.
After a long and stressful week, my wonderful husband came home with a surprise that definitely cheered me up - a bunch of freshly cut, beautiful and aromatic gardenias. One of my favorite flowers, simply for their succulent smell alone. I also love their pure white petals and bright green leaves.... simplicity at its best.
I cut the stems short and placed them in a clear square vase, filled with black rocks and water. Be sure to submerge the stems, but not the petals, as they will quickly turn brown in water. They lasted about 5 days, and my mood definitely dropped when I had to throw them out. Rutgers didn't need a study.... my husband already knew how important it was to bring me another fresh bunch!