The effects of color on our moods, health, and way of thinking have been studied by scientists for years. Even an individual’s preference for one color over another may be related to the way that color makes the individual feel.
Color can be described as light-visible radiant energy-of certain wavelengths. Photoreceptors in the retina, called cones, translate this energy into colors. The retina contains three kinds of cones: one for blue, one for green, and one for red. We perceive other colors by combining these colors.
According to Dr. Alexander Schauss, director of the American Institute for Biosocial Research in Tacoma, Washington, when the energy of color enters our bodies, it stimulates the pituitary and pineal glands. This in turn affects the production of certain hormones, which in turn affect a variety of physiological processes. This explains why color has been found to have such a direct influence on our thoughts, moods, and behavior-an influence that many experts believe is distinctly separate from psychological and cultural factors. Remarkably, color seems to have an effect even on blind people, who are thought to sense color as a result of energy vibrations created within the body.
Clearly, the colors you choose for your clothes and for your home, office, car, and other surroundings can have a profound effect on you. Colors have been known to ease stress, to fill you with energy, and even to alleviate pain and other physical problems. This idea, it should be noted, is far from new. In fact, the “color your world” concept is part of the ancient Chinese design technique feng shui.
When selecting a color to effect a change in mood or to relieve discomfort, it is vital to choose the color suited to your particular objective. For instance, blue has a relaxing, peaceful, and calming effect. Blue lowers the blood pressure, the heart rate, and respiration. In one study, children prone to aggressive behavior became calmer when placed in a blue classroom. Blue has also been found to make people feel cooler in hot and humid environments. To help relieve the pain of ulcers, back problems, insomnia, pain, rheumatism, and inflammatory disorders, surround yourself with blue, and focus your mind on the body part you want to heal while looking at the color. One good place to do this is in the countryside, where the blue of the sky and the water can impart a feeling of calming “oneness” with the universe.
As another of nature’s most abundant colors, green, like blue, has a soothing and relaxing effect on the body as well as on the mind. People who are depressed or anxious can benefit from green surroundings. Green also helps nervous disorders, exhaustion, heart problems, and cancer. When you are ill, try sitting on a hillside or by a green pasture, and focus on the body part you want to heal. Green may also be a good environmental color for the dieter.
Like blue and green, violet creates a peaceful environment. Violet also suppresses the appetite and is good for scalp and kidney problems and for migraine headaches.
The color red stimulates, excites, and warms the body. Red increases the heart rate, brain wave activity, and respiration. The color of passion and energy, red is also good for impotence and frigidity, as well as for anemia, bladder infections, and skin problems. Those who have poor coordination should avoid wearing the color red. In addition, people suffering from hypertension (high blood pressure) should avoid rooms with a red decor, as this can cause their blood pressure to rise. Conversely, red has a good effect on those with hypotension (low blood pressure).
Pink has a soothing effect on the body, relaxing the muscles. Because it has been found to have a tranquilizing effect on aggressive and violent people, pink is often used in prisons, hospitals, and juvenile and drug centers. Those suffering from anxiety or withdrawal symptoms can benefit from pink surroundings. Pink is also a good color for the bedroom, where it can help evoke feelings of romance.
Orange is the color of choice for stimulating the appetite and reducing fatigue. Use this color in place mats and tablecloths, for instance-to encourage a finicky eater or to pique the appetite of a person who is ill. This color should be avoided by those who are trying to lose weight. If you are feeling tired or run down, try wearing an orange garment to lift your energy level. General weakness, allergies, and constipation may also improve.
Yellow is the most memorable of all the colors. Whenever you want to remember something, jot it down on yellow paper. This color also raises the blood pressure and increases the pulse rate, but to a lesser degree than red does. As the color of sunshine, yellow has an energizing effect; it can help relieve depression. A chromotherapist may use this color to treat muscle cramps, hypoglycemia, overactive thyroid, and gallstones.
Black is a “power” color. Try wearing black clothes for a feeling of strength and self-confidence. Black also suppresses the appetite. If you want to lose weight, cover your dining table with a black tablecloth.