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Can Different Colours Affect Your Moods?

What’s your favorite colour? How does it make you feel? Do you notice that you avoid certain spaces at your office, or are put off by a particular ad or magazine cover?

From feng shui, fashion, and home decor, colour plays a key role in triggering emotional reactions in us. While cool colours like blues and greens tend to calm us down and provide a sense of ease, warmer colours serve to excite and energize us.

Without even being conscious of it, we are influenced by colour every single day! Knowing this, think about what we might accomplish if we become much more intentional about how and when we use colour to our emotional advantage.

If you have been stuck in a rut, feeling like you can’t shake being negative, have been too revved up to sleep, or find yourself strangely hungry all the time, you may be overly influenced or unaware of how colours are affecting your moods.

Colour Psychology

Let’s start off with some weird facts about colour association:

  • While white makes us think about purity and cleanliness, it is not recommended for public washrooms. (There’s nothing innocent about a dirty restaurant loo.)
  • We associate colour with scents - orange and brown “smell” musty, while soapy, clean scents conjure an image of lighter, pastel shades.
  • In a study relating colour to shampoo products, most volunteers associated blue with deep-cleaning hair suds.
  • A UK Daily Mail article states that women who favor nude underwear are “relaxed with nothing to hide” when it comes to the type of lover they are.
  • If purple is your favourite colour, “you are artistic and unique [with a] great respect for people, but at times can be arrogant,” according to this Psychology Today article.

Chromotherapy, or colour therapy, is defined by the Collins dictionary as “the use of color and light as a restorative therapy and to promote mental and physical well-being. If you look up ‘color psychology,’ you will find hundreds of websites, blogs, and articles dedicated to understanding this powerful and interesting theory.

Understanding the spectrum of colours and how they elicit emotions in people is a building block for interior designers and a pillar of the world of feng shui. To bring balance and positive energy into your home or office, you need to have the right harmony of colours, shapes, and elements.

  • Green and brown with Wood - Growth, expansion
  • Light yellow and brown with Earth - Grounding, stability
  • Red, orange, purple, and pink with Fire - Joy, passion
  • White and grey with Metal - Strength, independence
  • Blue and black with Water - Relaxation, inspiration

In feng shui, properly balancing energies and finding the right flow can actually relieve certain emotions and activate different ones, bringing you relief. Having too many of one and not the others can throw off your moods big time.

Colours for Stress

You might scoff at the thought that changing your clothes or painting your bedroom or office can have any significant effect on your stress levels and general outlook, but ask yourself a simple question. What do you have to lose by trying? Sometimes, just setting the intention to make a change can be enough to make it happen!

Depending on what you’re feeling stressed about, you can turn to colours to provide relief. Wearing yellow can be uplifting, as it is associated with feelings of happiness and good times, or you can look to adorn yourself with yellow crystals such as citrine, which is used to bring abundance and to help us overcome a negative outlook.

Green is a powerful colour when it comes to relieving stress, as it is the most restful on our eyes and thus easy to look at. There are many studies on how being in and around green space has a refreshing effect on our mental health, so why not incorporate that into your everyday life?

How Do Colours Affect Us?

Restaurants, gyms, yoga studios, and shopping malls all use colour to elicit some kind of emotional response within us! Sounds sneaky, right? Well, it kind of is, but once you’re onto them, you may not play into it as much.

Here are a few colours and the responses we have to them:

  • Orange: Energy, fun, warmth
  • Yellow: Optimism, warmth, laughter
  • Purple: Royalty, wisdom, luxury
  • Black: Power, mystery, intelligence
  • Brown: Reliability, stability, comfort
  • Green: Healing, success, hope
  • Grey: Practical, quiet

On a diet? There are some theories that suggest we avoid establishments that decorate with red. Scarlet, cherry, crimson - beware! Red’s a stimulating colour and will make your tummy grumble. Ditto for grocery or convenience stores. If there’s red around, you might be more tempted to pig out.

Look to blue to calm your appetite. Some food coaches encourage their clients to eat from blue plates to calm the hunger storm. Blue is the least appetizing colour - probably because there are so few foods in that shade. Also, it reminds us of mold or spoiled food - forks down!

If you’re feeling guilty about gaining weight, or like you don’t have enough energy to get back into the physical exercise you need for so many reasons, look to energizing orange to stimulate you into action. Orange combines red’s passion with yellow’s cheer, making it a great colour to get excited about raising your heart rate.

Conclusion

For us to be able to process colours, we need light. The fact that we are constantly seeing and responding to colors on our desktops, billboards, phones, magazines, and on our clothes should make us want to be more intentional with how we respond to and encorporate colour in our lives.

Unlocking the world of colour psychology and becoming more aware of how colour affect our lives can be a powerful tool in controling our stress levels, our sleep, and even in motivating us to achieve goals!

How have you been affected by colour? What shades and hues are you most emotionally impacted by?

Sarah McCullough

Sarah McCullough

Sarah focuses on stress management, healthy sleep, and how interior design and colour contribute to relaxing environments. By day, Sarah works in Human Resources, eagerly absorbing knowledge about the human psyche and why we behave and interact the way we do. Sarah started her career journey with a single year... Read More

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