By Ron McDiarmid
Color is a key component of healthy living. There is little as uplifting to the human spirit as a rainbow. Color has been studied for its therapeutic applications for many decades. There is a reason people in tropical environments tend to be happier, and people who spend all their time in grey institutions are more prone to illness. Just as eating a variety of foods helps us get all the full range nutrients necessary to thrive, seeing a variety of colors helps keep our minds and spirits healthy.
Color and Our Brains
Color is an expression of frequency and vibration. It is also a creation of our brains. We do not actually “see color,” rather the way light waves bounce off our eyes triggers our brains to make certain connections – color is merely a perception. This is partly why color affects us so deeply, because we are actually making it up in our minds.
Color stimulates the hypothalamus and pineal gland, affecting appetite, mood, emotions, temperature, creativity, energy levels, sex drive, sleep cycles, and hormonal balance. A study of color therapy showed that each color affects and supports a different area of the body, in ways that closely resemble the chakra system of yoga.
In Living Color
Several studies of office workers found that people who work in drab, dull environments are more likely to experience chronic stress and associated illnesses.
Patients in hospitals and treatment centers were more able to relax, and respond ed more favorably to treatment when they were in rooms with soothing colors like pink and pale blue.
There is a reason that prisoners are put in drab, dark environments, though some prisons are starting to add more color to help the inmates actually rehabilitate. In one study done on people in monotone environments and colorful environments, the people in the dull spaces for long periods of time tended to become anxious, fearful, and distressed. Paradoxically, they would also become more restless and emotionally reactive, and had more difficulty concentrating.
Color and Children
Students and teachers are more able to focus on tasks and remain productive for longer periods of time in classrooms that have supportive color schemes and appropriate lighting. Students in schools with brighter lighting and inspiring color treatments showed a significant increase in IQ and academic performance scores in a 1983 study.
It has been discovered that children in school are more likely to be irritable, aggressive, and introverted in colorless or monochrome classrooms through multiple studies. In colorful classrooms, children are cheerier, more cooperative, and they retain information better.
Choosing the Best Colors for You
Luckily, color is still all around us. Each color affects us in a different way because of its unique frequency and vibration. You can affect your mood and overall health by wearing clothes of a particular color, painting or decorating your home in a color scheme, or adding pieces of art or fabric to your work environment. Colored light bulbs, or gels and screens over existing lighting are easy and affordable ways to add a color to a room.
Red tends to be best for taking action, being physical, and getting things done. If you want to feel energized and be more productive, wear red or have red touches in your office. Red is not conducive to a bedroom or other place you want to be able to relax. It may be too stimulating for teenagers, who fare better with soothing colors like green and blue.
Orange inspires creativity, motion, emotional expression, and connection. In the appropriate shade, it could be a great color for an art studio, meeting room or dining room.
Yellow is mentally stimulating, energizing, and confidence boosting. It makes a great touch in the office if you tend to feel sluggish, or wear it when you want to inspire clear thinking. Avoid yellow in areas that might be stressful, and keep it out of the bedroom.
Green is great almost anywhere to encourage balance, harmony, and tolerance. It is also a good color to wear if you want people to feel welcomed and comfortable around you.
Blue is a soothing, healing color that is great for bedrooms and bathrooms, or to wear when you want to reduce stress and put others at ease. It is not the best for spaces or days that require lots of motion and productivity.
Violet is also a soothing color that inspires serenity and understanding, in pale shades it is great for meditation spaces, healing centers, and bedrooms.
Incorporating more color into our lives can boost our productivity and creativity, and help us stay balanced and healthy.
– This post is contributed by Ron McDiarmid, who is the founder of My Healthy Living Coach. Having had health challenges along the way Ron was keen to share the research and learning he gathered. Through MHLC this continued into a current presentation of healthy lifestyle choices and how to implement them. Check out his website at myhealthylivingcoach.com.