How Colors Affect Our Health
Ever wondered why we have favorite colors? Or why we feel differently around certain colors? Read on to find out more about why and how colors play a role in our health and well-being.
Color and Mood
Colors can elicit different moods. When you look at a particular color, how does it make you feel? Energetic and happy, or over-stimulated and edgy? Relaxed and calm, or lethargic and depressed? Colors are all around us. Companies use color in their advertisements to get your attention. Schools and other institutions use beige colors on the walls because they are not stimulating. Many restaurants use colors to stimulate appetite.
All the Colors of the Rainbow!
As a child, did you learn about Roy G. Biv as a way of remembering the colors of the rainbow? Even though a rainbow is a continuous array of colors blending from red to violet, in our culture we see seven distinct colors in the rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet.
What is a Rainbow?
It’s what happens when white light (a mixture of all the colors) passes through a prism or a raindrop. Because the different colors travel at different speeds through the prism, they emerge spread out at different angles to form the familiar rainbow array.
Colors and the Electromagnetic Spectrum
The colors we can see are just a part of what is known as the Electromagnetic (EM) Spectrum, which is the range of all types of EM radiation. Radiation is energy that travels and spreads out as it goes – the visible light that comes from a lamp in your house and the radio waves that come from a radio station are two types of electromagnetic radiation. Radio waves are longer, light waves are in the middle, and gamma waves are the shortest. The amount of energy varies according to wavelength. Longer EM waves have lower energy, shorter EM waves have higher amounts of energy. The wavelength (and its associated level of energy) is what determines how EM radiation affects us and the world around us.
How to Harness the Power of Color in Our Lives
Most of us are at least somewhat aware of the energetic effects of light and colors on how we feel, so let’s explore that a bit more. Think about how you feel when you go for a walk – in the fall with all of the vibrant colors of the trees; or overlooking the deep blue of the ocean; or walking through a garden in full bloom. Now, think about how you bring those colors into your life. Perhaps that perfect shade of blue is the paint that you chose for your home, or the vibrant purple of the lavender is the color of your favorite shirt. Pay attention to the colors you are attracted to from day to day, and how you feel around different colors at home and at work.
Healing Effects of Light and Color
Over the years many different therapies have been developed that utilize EM radiation, Including light therapy, Aura Soma, and Color Puncture. The ancient healing traditions of India include the concept of “chakras,” which are also linked to specific colors. Chakras refer to energy points in the body, which are described in terms of their energetic impact on emotional and physical well-being.
The Well-Being Color Chart
Here’s a sampling of some of the research on the rainbow colors and their effects on mood and behavior, alongside the corresponding chakras and their colors, just for fun. Welcome to the rainbow!
|Color||Modern Science||Ancient Chakra Wisdom|
|Red||A person who is wearing red appears more attractive or desirable to others. Seeing the color red can evoke a burst of strength. Red makes it easier to recall negative words. Red is also linked to impaired analytical reasoning.||Root Chakra (located at tailbone). Relates to feeling grounded and secure.|
|Orange||Increases oxygen supply to brain, energizing, stimulates brain activity.||Sacral Chakra (located below belly button). Relates to feelings of self-worth around pleasure, sexuality, creativity.|
|Yellow||Emotionally stimulating, but effects on mood can swing unpredictably from positive to negative.||Solar Plexus Chakra (stomach area). Relates to self-esteem and self-confidence.|
|Green||Linked to creativity. Green makes positive emotions stronger. Boosts energy.||Heart Chakra (center of chest). Relates to the ability to love and connect with others.|
|Blue||Most people give blue as their favorite color. Evokes trustworthiness. May help reset circadian rhythm when disrupted.||Throat Chakra (the throat). Relates to speaking and listening with compassion and confidence.|
|Indigo||Current research in this area does not consider this color separately.||Third Eye Chakra (between the eyes). Relates to focus, seeing the big picture, intuition.|
|Violet||Current research in this area does not consider this color separately.||Crown Chakra (very top of head). Relates to connecting with one’s life purpose and spirituality.|
Some ideas for incorporating the power of color into daily life:
- Use green in home offices and art studios to enhance creative thinking, boost energy and positivity.
- Red can be a good choice for home gym areas, for that extra burst of strength. A bad option for offices, though, as red impairs analytical thought.
- Yellow can be tricky. Use it sparingly, when you want a pop of energy or warmth.
- Wear blue when you want to inspire confidence.
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