As a kid I was always into painting and coloring, making collages and using color in every way possible in order to express myself. As an artist and an interior designer (part of my past explorations of life), I was also exposed to loads of color in my life. It wasn’t until a few years ago however that I started consciously paying attention to how certain colors affected me and realized that I could change the way I felt by adding specific colors to my daily routine.
This addition of color could come in the form of the foods I consumed, the colors I chose from my wardrobe, crystals I “played” with that day, wearing color glasses for a few minutes each day and even paying attention to what wall and furniture colors I was around at home and work. Investing some training in color therapy led me to become more knowledgeable on how color works and realize the depth of how it affects us in an emotional and energetic way.
Have you ever noticed that if you find yourself in a red room it is very hard to relax? But subtle blues can make you feel calm and serene. Yellow can be unsettling, Gold might inspire you to spend more $$ and black will drain your energy? Color can indeed dramatically affect moods, feelings and emotions. It is a language of the soul and affects us subconsciously in ways that are so subtle we often do not notice. Color is consistently used in the marketing and advertising world to attract us consumers, entice us to shop and tempt us to spend more money in goods. Certain colors are associated with increased appetite and metabolism – such as yellow for example. Yellow evokes energy and increases appetite. Does your stomach begin to growl when you pass those golden arches even if fast food is not your thing? Other colors subconsciously give us the feeling of affordability – Orange might do the trick – can you think of a large chain depot that sells home goods? Pretty affordable right, if you do it yourself that is. And White – ah the crisp, clean color of white that represents purity and innocence. That brings about a sense of calm and spirituality. But for some cultures like India it is a symbol of mourning worn at ceremonies held for honoring the dead.
It is a little researched topic but the fact is that all colors cause psychological reactions; the key is to be alert and notice how we are being affected in order to not be led without our consent. But what is it that causes color to have such a deep effect in our lives? While there is not extensive research into color psychology and Chromotherapy (the use of color for healing), we cannot deny from our own experiences that these dazzling pigments, to some extent, rule our lives. Some color systems such as Aura Soma and the Spectro-Chrome light therapy are gentle ways for bringing about balance and health to our fields. I have found that by means of exposing the body to specific color and light spectrums it is possible to aid our bodies in returning to a healthier and more balanced state.
If you were taught art in school you will remember that red, orange and yellow belong to the warm color spectrum. These colors can cause and signify high energy, anger, change, creativity as well as a feeling of warmth and safety. While blue, green and purple belong to the cool spectrum and can feel cold, distant, removed but also help us feel calm, serene, connected and perhaps indifferent.
According to a book by Ted Andrews on “How to Heal with Color”, here’s a quick breakdown of some of the colors and how they can assist us. Please do note however, that different persons and cultures might attribute different meanings for different colors:
Since the color white contains the entire light spectrum it is strengthening to the system. It is cleansing and purifying and can awaken creativity. It stands for modernity and is often used to promote the honesty of a company. Can you think of a white apple symbol that signifies an honest company?
Black contains the entire color spectrum and can be protective, grounding but could also cause depression so should be used sparingly. It should always be used in combination with another color as it can be very heavy. In the marketplace it is the color of sophistication and provides a sense of style.
Red is a stimulating color – it awakens, activates and energizes. It strengthens the physical energy, is beneficial for colds and can help in treating poor circulation. In many ways red in a company log can lead to addictive use of products, but can also silently cause us to cease an action such as hitting the breaks at a Stop sign.
This is the color of relationships as well as joy and wisdom. It can help with healing depression since it is considered an uplifting color and can also be beneficial for the digestive organs. In the buying market this colors is associated with fairness and affordability.
Yellow is a mental color. It is associated with knowledge and learning, excitement for life, confidence and optimism. Also great for treating depression but too much yellow can have the opposite effect and create nervousness instead. It also stimulates the appetite and hence used effectively in some fast food restaurants.
One of the most predominant colors on the planet, it is very healing and balancing and increases our sensitivity and compassion. It is very soothing to the nervous system and promotes hope, faith and peace. Green is also a color used in the market to represent eco-friendly choices and is usually more attractive to environmentally conscious customers.
As noted before blue is calming and relaxing. It is helpful to our respiratory system and it awakens our intuition. It can also be beneficial in awakening artistic expression and inspiration. In the business world it promotes trust and dependability. Often used by large corporations and those in the finance industry. Patrons are 15 percent more likely to return to stores with blue color schemes than to those with orange color schemes, according to a 2003 study published in the Journal of Business Research.*
These deeper shades of blue can be very healing on a physical and spiritual level. It is strengthening to the immune system and good for detoxification. It is also balancing to the brain hemispheres and its synapses. In the industry it is a color of royalty and status and in fashion an indigo, violet, burgundy shade may promote luxury and the need for an expensive look or a product that is a must to our collection even if the price is out of our range.
While all the above is general information on how color might influence our life, if you are looking to experience Chromotherapy as a health promoting treatment please make sure to seek an experienced practitioner to assist you. While color can be used for healing and balancing using color therapy without deep knowledge of the system may be harmful to your wellbeing. All above information is to be used as such – just information - and is in no way meant to direct you to remove yourself from the care of a qualified practitioner.
Should you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to contact me.
In living color…
+ How to Heal with Color, Ted Andrews
· - O'Connor, Z. (2011). Colour psychology and colour Therapy: Caveat emptor. Color Research & Application, 36 (3), p229-234. http://www.academia.edu/16361504/IMPORTANCE_OF_COLORS_AND_THEIR_IMPLEMENTATION
· - Blue streetlights believed to prevent suicides, street crime. (2008, Dec. 11). The Seattle Times. Retrieved from http://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/blue-streetlights-believed-to-prevent-suicides-street-crime/- Color Psychology: - A critical review, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/20865770_Color_psychology_A_critical_review