Colours have such an impact on our emotions and I honestly don't think we consider them as much as we should!
As a potent element of visual communication, colours actually 'pop' out at us before we have a chance to consciously process what we see. What this means is, colours have a way of making us feel a certain way before we have awareness of what we are looking at.
To understand how colours can evoke emotion or lift your mood, it's important to understand some of the colour 101's....
Primary Colours - The core colours in any colour wheel are Red, Blue & Yellow. These are the 3 fundamental 'primary' colours which are the basis for all other combinations.
Secondary & Tertiary Colours - Secondray colours are created when we add equal mixtures of 2 primary colours. For example, equal parts blue and yellow will create green. Equal parts blue and red will create purple.
Tertiary colours are combinations of primary and secondary colours. For example, red and orange would combine to make red-orange. Blue and green would combine to make blue-green and so on. Even through there are only 6 tertiary colours, the tones produced can be limitless! Take a look at the chart below to see how tertiary colours are created.
Complementary Colours - These are colours which are opposite each other on the colour wheel and are completely contrasting. These colours balance each other out and the highest contrast creates a vibrant look.
So how can colours improve our emotions and lift our mood?
The use of Colour Therapry is a holistic, powerful and non-invasive healing therapy which dates back to Ancient times - but you only need to take a closer look around you to see and the impact that colours have. Colours are created by varying wavelengths of energy and this energy affects all living things. This is where the Psychology of Colour comes in, as colours have the ability to evoke, change and lift our emotions. Studies have shown this happens because we are intrinsically programmed to associate colours with how those colours behave in nature. For example, when we think of pale blue, we think of clear skies and the ocean which we would usually associate with feelings of calm and serenity. When we think of green, we think of trees and nature which stir emotions of peace and tranquility.
Although the discipline of Colour Therapy is broad and varied, this blog will help you understand the fundamentals as a fun, quick and easy to learn source!
So what does each colour represent?
Colours relate respectively to the mind, the body, the emotions and the essential balance between these three. Each colour has an overarching association, however it's important to keep in mind there are both positive and negative characteristics aligned with each.
Red - Association with the Physical
Positive: Warmth, Strength, Courage, Energy, Basic Survival, Enthusiasm, Passion & Determination
Negative: Aggression, Defiance, Danger, Stress, Revenge & Anger
Red is a colour which is extremely strong and powerful and it creates the effect of being closer than it really is, which is why it usually grabs our attention first. This is one of the reason why red is used in traffic lights and stop signs.
Physically, the colour red can stimulate us and raise our heart rate. It is a lively colour which is associated with passion and desire, yet also has connections with anger and aggression.
If you suffer anxiety or have issues with blood pressure, it's best to avoid wearing red as this can increase your pulse stress and induce stress.
Orange - Association with Physical Comfort
Positive: Physical Comfort, Food, Warmth, Security, Stability, Creativity, Abundance & Fun
Negative: Immaturity, Frustration & Deprivation Orange is a colour which is a combination of the physical and emotional. It focuses the mind on physical comforts such as food, shelter and warmth and is generally seen as a 'fun' colour. On the opposite side, too much orange suggests frivolity and may see you focus on the things that you don't have, rather than those you do.
Yellow - Association with Emotions
Positive: Optimism, Self-Esteem, Self-Confidence, Friendliness & Emotional Strength
Negative: Irrationality, Fear, Anxiety & Emotional Fragility.
Yellow works on one of the longest wavelengths and is the strongest colour psychologically.
As there are so many different shades and tones of yellow, it's important to bear in mind that the 'right' shade of yellow can be uplifting and boost our self-esteem. This is typically the tone you can see in this image and this shade of yellow is all about confidence and positivity. On the other end of the spectrum, a dull, mustardy-yellow may cause self-belief to plummet, giving rise to fear and anxiety.
Green - Association with Balance
Positive: Balance, Harmony, Connection with Nature, Peace, Restoration, Growth & Re-Assurance
Negative: Boredom, Stagnation,Envy, Materialistic & Overly Cautious
Green is a very peaceful colour and as it rests in the centre of the spectrum, it is a colour of balance.
On a primitive level, green is a re-assuring colour as it connects us to nature, growth and the presence of water. On the flip side, for some, being surrounded my too much green can lead to boredom or stagnation.
Wearing green, particularly Emerald Green, can be a sign that you enjoy the material things in life and at times, can be envious of others.
Blue - Association with the Intellectual
Positive: Intelligence, Communication, Trust, Serenity, Calm & Logic
Negative: Coldness, Lack of Emotion & Unfriendliness
Blue is a colour of the mind so it is no surprise that being in blue surrounds or wearing this color affects our mental state.
Essentially, blue is a soothing colour which promotes clear thoughts and concise communication. Pale blue can aid concentration, so this is a fantastic colour to wear during an exam or when you need to retain information!
Blue objects appear further away than what they actually are, unlike what we discovered earlier with red.
As much as the colour blue is the world's favourite colour (according to loads of research that has been conducted), it can also be seen as being cold, emotional and unfriendly. On another note, if we are considering feng-shui principles, it's really important to remember that YES blue is a calming colour, however it is NOT recommended for bedrooms. This is a colour which represents fluidity - not stability - and people who tend to have blue in the bedrooms, tend to experience headaches and restless sleep. For couples, blue in the bedroom can also create tension and be the source of waking up 'moody'.
Pink - Association with Empathy & Kindness
Positive: Nurturing, Sensitivity, Femininity, Love and Physical Tranquility
Negative: Lack of Will Power, Lack of Self-Worth, Physical Weakness & Overly Emotional
Pink is intuitive and insightful showing compassion and kindness with its empathy and sensitivity. This is a colour of hope which reassures our emotional energies. Pink offers warmth and tenderness to family and friends. Studies have shown that exposure to large volumes of pink can instill a calming effect on the nerves and can create physical weakness in people. Just be careful as one particular study found that when violent and aggressive prisoners were placed in a pink room for a specified period of time, they instinctively calmed down. When they were exposed to that same room for a greater period of time, the pink room actually had the opposite effect!
Purple - Association with the Spiritual
Positive: Spiritual Awareness, Luxury, Imagination, Intuition, Wisdom & Harmony of the Mind and Emotions
Negative: Arrogant, Cynical, Idealistic, Introversion & Impractical
The colour Purple takes awareness to a higher level of conscious and unconscious thought and spiritual growth. It is a highly introvertive colour and as a result, is extremely effective when used in meditation. Often considered a colour of royalty, purple is noble and associated with luxury, wealth and extravagance.
Excessive use of the colour purple can create too much introspection and can also lead to arrogant behaviour. As purple relates to deep contemplation, it can be associated with being impractical as its head is in the clouds rather that its feet being on the ground. It tends to see life as imagined rather than how it actually is.
Individual response to colour is subjective, however research has proven that when colour harmony is combined with the science of psychology, human reactions and behaviours can be predicted with immense accuracy. Personally, I love the way in which different colours have the power to lift my mood or evoke certain emotions. I mix things up around the home, with our food and with my clothes and accessories all the time!
Colours are powerful in both their intention and the created response so take a few moments to be mindful of your reactions with each colour! I challenge you!
Love & Light
xx Sandra Stoitis xx