Change Your Mood With Color Therapy
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Close your eyes and picture the logos of popular fast-food chains—McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, etc. What do they have in common? If color-scheme comes to mind, you have identified one of the many ways marketers use color as a tool to lure in consumers.
It’s no mistake that these logos are red, orange, and yellow. Researchers have discovered that certain colors can induce appetite and affect the speed at which people behave. Red and yellow, in particular, are exciting colors. They grab our attention. And people are more apt to eat in an environment consisting of warm colors rather than cool, dark tones. Can you imagine if Kentucky Fried Chicken was black and purple? For some reason this doesn’t seem appetizing, and the reason for this is because color can subconsciously alter our perceptions.
Sensory and perception
Color has an incredible impact on our mood. Objects don’t really have a color; our brains process the frequency of light and electromagnetic wavelengths that objects reflect. You can probably remember your eighth grade science lesson about ROY G BIV. It is no coincidence that red, orange, and yellow grab our attention first; they are the easiest frequencies to see. White is the total presence of light (a surface reflecting all colors), and black is a total absence of light (a surface absorbing all colors).
Subconsciously, we perceive each color from an emotional viewpoint. A reasonable explanation is that the primitive portion of our brains responds to colors as a means of protection. Ironically, the same colors that make us hungry can also act as a warning. A flash of fire or a spider with a red marker (Black Widow!) signal us that danger is present. In the same way, we perceive nature, in its greens and blues, as a comforting mother.
Using color to enhance mood
Since we know that color can alter our spending habits and moods, we should utilize it to our advantages. But to do so, we also need to understand how we interpret colors. Different cultures will interpret the representation of colors uniquely. For instance, white is the color of mourning in many eastern cultures, while black is in the West. Although most people translate color in a similar fashion, some individuals may have preferences or aversions to specific colors. It is important to understand how these reactions can explain particular moods and identify whether we need to surround ourselves with more or less of certain colors.
People can use colors to their benefit with what they wear, how they paint a room, or how they decorate their offices. Chromotherapy, or color therapy, can aid energy healers to provide a patient with appropriate levels of particular colors. Whichever level of mood enhancement you are searching for, assessing and understanding how colors fit into your life may greatly benefit your emotional health.
Red: Energy, Excitement, Aggression
Therapeutic Aspects: The color red can add energy and warmth to your day. It is the color of the circulatory system and may benefit people with low blood pressure, anemia, or clotting issues. It also enhances all of the senses, which may be why it is also a good color to add to your life if you may be passive or struggling with fatigue. Of course, red is also a sensuous color that promotes desire.
Application: Women, you can wear this color on a date to arouse your mate’s senses. Men, wearing a red tie can demonstrate confidence and strength.
Orange: Zest, Ambition, Regeneration
Therapeutic Aspects: The color orange is one of liberation and innovation. It can help enhance your imagination if you need to complete a creative project. It is associated with the respiratory system, digestion, and the thyroid. Scientific research has found that this color can increase oxygen levels, which stimulate the brain’s activity.
Application: Paint an office or studio a shade of orange or wear this color when you exercise. It is invigorating!
Yellow: Happiness, Optimism, Intensity
Therapeutic Aspects: The color yellow can add cheer to your mood; however, be careful not to use too much yellow or brighter shades, as the intensity can provoke irritation. Scientific studies have concluded that babies cry when surrounded by bright yellow hues. However, if used correctly, it can help calm nerves and other pains. The color is most associated with the mind and nervous system. It may help with anxiety, general nervousness, or painful nerve ailments.
Application: Adding yellow to your home can help lift you out of a melancholic mood and promote a positive outlook on the future (think daffodils in spring).
Green: Wealth, Calmness, Fertility
Therapeutic Aspects: Green is the color of life and growth. Most of nature is green. Of course, money is also green, and it would be nice if this could grow like nature. Green has incredible calming properties. This wavelength is the easiest on the eyes, which may be why we find it so relaxing. People work best in green atmospheres, as it typically decreases anxiety levels, and brings us a sense of balance and harmony.
Application: If you work in an environment that is stressful, add green to the scene. Medical professionals should use green to calm patients. Also, if you spend a lot of time on the computer, try utilizing green in your work.
Blue: Productive, Dependable, Tranquil
Therapeutic Aspects: If you’re feeling aggravated or angry, blue can calm your nerves. Blue is an assuring color, one that puts people at ease. Also, if you are looking to become more productive at work or home, adding blue to your workstation may be just the lift you’re looking for. In fact, blue is associated with focus, and studies have demonstrated that people, especially weightlifters, workout best in blue environments. Blue can also be used if you have inflammation in any area of the body, especially the throat, and works well with alleviating headaches.
Application: If you want to make someone feel comfortable or that they can trust in you, wear blue around them. For yourself, painting a bedroom can provide you with a restful mood.
Purple/Violet: Royalty, Insight, Detoxification
Therapeutic Aspects: Purple is a great color to surround yourself with if you need to regenerate and heal. While it has a calming sense to it, purple can also stimulate your mind. Leonardo da Vinci is accredited with endorsing the use of meditation in the presence of violet (he was referring to stain-glass windows).
Application: Don your meditative space with purples and violets. Also, if you want to look wise while giving a speech, wear purple.
Black: Power, Authority, Intelligence
Therapeutic Aspects: Black is a serious color. If you are looking to make a formal change to your life (such as breaking a habit) or need to focus, black is your color. People who meditate often find black to help them reach deeper levels of the subconscious. It is also a neutral color that will mostly likely not offend, but it does mean business.
Application: Black is the safest color to wear to a job interview (but don’t forget red or blue accents). If you need to grieve someone or something, wearing black may also help serve as a reminder that it is okay to mourn.
White: Purity, Protection, Cleanliness
Therapeutic Aspects: The color white is the presence of all colors. It gives off the impression of sanitation, which is why it is popular in new dwellings and hospitals.
Application: If you are feeling fearful, surround yourself with white and white light. It can make you feel safe. If you are looking to purify yourself of negativity, sitting in a white space can bring harmony to your mind.
- Melissa Lavery, M.S.
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