Do you feel anxious in a yellow room? Does the color blue make you feel calm and relaxed? Artists and interior designers have long understood how color can dramatically affect moods, feelings and emotions. It is a powerful communication tool and can be used to signal action, influence mood, and cause physiological reactions. Certain colors can raise blood pressure, increase metabolism, or cause eyestrain.
Of course, your feelings about color can also be deeply personal and are often rooted in your own experience or culture. For example, while the color white is used in many Western countries to represent purity and innocence, it is seen as a symbol of mourning in many Eastern countries.
Why is color such a powerful force in our lives? What effects can it have on our bodies and minds? Continue reading to further explore the history of color including how it’s used, the effects it may have and some of the most recent research on color psychology.
What Is Color?
In 1666, English scientist Sir Isaac Newton discovered that when pure white light passes through a prism, it separates into all of the visible colors. Newton also found that each color is made up of a single wavelength and cannot be separated any further into other colors. Further experiments demonstrated that light could be combined to form other colors. For example, red light mixed with yellow light creates an orange color. Some colors, such as yellow and purple, cancel each other out when mixed and result in a white light. If you have ever painted, then you have probably noticed how certain colors can be mixed to create other colors.
Color Psychology – The Psychological Effects of Color
While perceptions of color are somewhat subjective, there are some color effects that have universal meaning. Colors in the red area of the color spectrum are known as warm colors and include red, orange and yellow. These warm colors evoke emotions ranging from feelings of warmth and comfort to feelings of anger and hostility. Colors on the blue side of the spectrum are known as cool colors and include blue, purple and green. These colors are often described as calm, but can also call to mind feelings of sadness or indifference.
Color Psychology as Therapy
Several ancient cultures, including the Egyptians and Chinese, practiced chromotherapy, or using colors to heal.
- Red was used to stimulate the body and mind and to increase circulation.
- Yellow was thought to stimulate the nerves and purify the body.
- Orange was used to heal the lungs and to increase energy levels.
- Blue was believed to soothe illnesses and treat pain.
- Indigo shades were thought to alleviate skin problems.
The treatment in chromotherapy is in the application of color and light to specific areas on the body. The therapists believe that colors have both positive and negative effects on the body’s energy fields; with some specific colors in specified doses can effect the actual healing.
The therapists use a whole range of color carriers and emitters such as gemstones, fabrics, prisms, light wands, and colored water in baths.
Here is a quick and easy guide, based on chromotherapists guidelines, as to the meaning of specific colors and their role in healing:
Red is the color of life, associated with the sun and of fire. Red increases the heart beat (pulse) , raises blood pressure and the rate of breathing. Red would be used to assist all circulatory functions and is used with confidence to fight anemia, asthma, diseases of the throat, chronic coughs, and other related illnesses. A person who emitting an excess of red could be very dominating, cruel, perpetually angry and anxious.
Healing properties: Brings warmth, energy and stimulation, therefore good for energy, fatigue, colds, chilly and passive people. Red energizes heart and blood circulation, it builds up the blood and heightens a low blood pressure. Energizes all organs and the senses hearing, smell, taste, vision and touch. Increases sexual desire and activity. Stimulates ovulation and menstruation. Never treat cancer with red, because this color will stimulate cell growth!
Red links with and stimulates the root chakra, at the base of the spine, causing the adrenal glands to release adrenalin. This results in greater strength. Red causes hemoglobin to multiply, thus increasing energy and raising body temperature. It is excellent for anemia and blood-related conditions. It loosens, opens up clogs, releases stiffness and constrictions. It is excellent for areas that have become stiffened or constricted.
Esoteric/magical: Deities of love, passion, sexuality and war (to stimulate a healthy portion of assertiveness). Great energy, courage, will-power, determination, speed, assertiveness, aggression, masculinity, independence, physical strength, sports, competition, conflicts, health, sexual attraction and potency, love and passion, fertility.
Preference for red: Red is associated with passionate love, sex, great energy, impulse, action and stimulation, assertiveness and aggression, courage, strength and power, adventure, danger, warnings, revolt and revolution. Temperamental and ambitious people with a need for personal freedom.
Aversion to red: A person who has an aversion to red may be over-active, too impulsive, hot-tempered, aggressive and egocentric, or have difficulties with people with such characteristics. It can also symbolize deeply hidden fears and rejection of his own assertiveness.
Orange is the color representing both empathy and sympathy. Chromotherapists claim remarkable results in the use of orange to treat mental illnesses of both depression, pessimism. Orange is also used for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases s, appetite loss, and other diseases of the circulatory and digestive systems. A person emitting an excess of orange is often confused, tired and pessimistic.
Healing properties: Orange is warm, cheering, non-constricting. Orange has a freeing action upon the body and mind, relieving repressions. Orange shows new possibilities and other options in life. Stimulates creative thinking and enthusiasm, and helps assimilate new ideas. It is also helpful in dealing with excess sexual expression.
Orange stimulates the lungs, the respiration and the digestion. Increases the activity of the thyroid. Reliefs muscle cramps and spasms. Increases the amount of mother milk.
Finally, orange links very strongly with the sacral chakra.
Esoteric/magical: Deities of good luck and fortune. Attraction, charm, kindness, encouragement, stimulation, optimism, success, abundance, prosperity, feast and celebration, energy, achieving business-goals, investments, success in legal matters.
Preference for orange: Orange represents the warmth of the fire. It brings even more energy than yellow, celebration and great abundance, comfort, enjoyment of the senses. Warm, sociable, dynamic and independent people who dedicate themselves to whatever they do.
Aversion to orange: A person who has an aversion to orange may have suppressed sexual feelings or other difficulties with sensual enjoyment of life. The attitude can also be over-sensual, indulgent, or too materialistic.
Yellow represents the sun. As the brightest of the colors that are commonly used in color therapy, it reflects light in all directions, and gives the feeling of detachment and liberation. Yellow cancels out feelings of heaviness or oppression. Yellow is also employed to treat diseases of the glands the lymphatic system It strengthens the nervous and immune systems. A person emitting an excess of yellow is often could confused and is both malicious, and devious.
Healing properties: Yellow helps strengthen the nerves and the mind. It helps awaken mental inspiration and stimulates higher mentality. Thus, it is an excellent color for nervous or nerve-related conditions or ailments. It also energizes the muscles. Dark yellow soothes pains in the nerves (shooting pains)
Yellow can be used for conditions of the stomach, liver, and intestines. Speeds up the digestion and assimilation, and the stool.
It helps the pores of the skin and aids scarred tissue in healing itself.
Yellow links with and stimulates the solar plexus, or psychic center. It can be used for psychic burnout or other psychic-related conditions or ailments. Activates and cheers up depressed and melancholic people. Gives lust for life.
Esoteric/magical: Elemental air. Deities for trade, travel, knowledge and magic. Life-force, vitality, change, progress, contact, communication, trade, commerce, to persuade with confidence, joy, cheerfulness, learning, knowledge, mental clarity, concentration, memorizing, tests, speaking and writing, traveling, affirmation, visualization.
Preference for yellow: The color of the sun, life-force, vivacity, vitality and energy. The color of cheerfulness, curiosity, alternation, flexibility, progress, amusement, contact through traveling and communication, learning and practical knowledge. A feeling for writing and speaking.
Aversion to yellow: A person who has aversion to yellow may be emotionally disappointed and bitter. May have tendency to rationalize feelings, or to avoid the depth of life by often changing relationships, many superficial relationships and/or constant changing activities.
As green gives a gentle harmonizing effect, it is the color associated with calm and peaceful feelings. Green therefore is the color associated with concentration. Green is used, in the treatment of bronchitis, all manners of cough, arthritis. rheumatism , and edema. It is also believed that green has a positive influence on the treatments of all manners of cysts, diseases of the eye. and diabetes. Green further is said to promote the glandular processes, promote relaxation of the organs and stimulate general detoxification of the body. A person emitting an excess of green is lethargic, insecure and jealous.
Healing properties: Green is the color of Nature and the earth. It is balance and harmony in essence and possesses a soothing influence upon both mind and body. It is neither relaxing nor astringent in its impact. Green can be used for just about any condition in need of healing.
Green rings psychological and emotional harmony and balance.
Green links with and stimulates the heart chakra. Green affects blood pressure and all conditions of the heart. It has both an energizing effect and a moderating or soothing effect.
It cures hormonal imbalances. Stimulates growth hormone and rejuvenation. Cleans and purifies from germs, bacteria and rotting material. Harmonizes the digestion, stomach, liver, gall. Has a healing effect on kidneys. Increases immunity. Builds up muscles, bones and tissues. Stimulates inner peace. Strengthens the nervous system.
Esoteric/magical: Elemental earth (dark green) and elemental water (blue-green). Nature, fertility, growth, rejuvenation, recovering, healing, harvest and abundance, prosperity, harmony, balance, peace, hope, mother earth, home, herbal magic, plants and animals, counteract greed and jealousy.
Preference for green: Green brings peace, rest, hope, comfort and nurturing, calmness and harmony. Interest in nature, plants, fellowmen, children and animals, health and healing, natural and plain life. Longing for a safe home and family-life. A dislike of conflicts.
Aversion to green: A person who has an aversion to green may be more interested in independence and self-development than in a warm family-life. May prefer to keep a certain distance in (sexual) relationships.
Blue is universally the color of both peace and the unknown. Blue is said to have the power of putting our bodies and mind is a state of peace and rest. Thus blue is used for relieving headaches, stomach aches and muscle cramp. Blue is also used to treat the liver. Generally, blue is used against any form of pain. A person emitting an excess of blue is usually doubtful, distrustful, anxious and melancholic.
Healing properties: Blue is cooling, electric, astringent. Dr. Edwin Babbitt, in his classic, “The Principles of Light and Color,” states that “The Blue Ray is one of the greatest antiseptics in the world.”
Cools down inflammations (don’t forget rheumatic inflammations), fever, high blood pressure, stops bleedings, reliefs the bursting headaches, calms strong emotions like anger, aggression or hysteria. Brings tranquility. Anti-itching. Anti-irritation (for instance redness of the skin), anti-stress. Soothes suffering.
Blue can be used for any type of ailments associated with speech, communication, or the throat. Excellent for laryngitis or inflammation of the larynx.
Blue links with and stimulates the throat chakra. The throat chakra is often referenced as the “power center” and “the greatest center in the body” because it is the primary center of expression and communication, through speech.
Esoteric/magical: Elemental water and elemental air. Deities of the sea, truth and wisdom. Peace and tranquility, calmness, truth, wisdom, justice, counsel, guidance, understanding, patience, loyalty and honor, sincerity, devotion, healing, femininity, prophetic dreams, protection during sleep, astral projection.
Preference for blue: Cool and soothing, dreamy and magical. Peace and rest. For people who keep a certain distance, but give calm and practical help; they are faithful and loyal, have a sense for order, logic and rational thinking. Flying in day-dreaming, ideals or nostalgia when felt misunderstood. Dark blue is more severe and can be melancholic. Blue is also the color of truth.
Aversion to blue: A person who has an aversion to blue, may be very disciplined, strong career worker, with an aversion of commentary or restriction. He may have charted out a clear direction for his life and wants to follow that lacelike.
Indigo has a cooling color effect that assists in one’s intuitive powers. Indigo is effective in the ailments of the ear, nose and throat, and also mental problems. Due to its calming and cooling effect, Indigo is effective in cases of addiction. It is also said to help stop bleeding and to help open wounds to close. A persona emitting an excess of Indigo is often violent, irrational and a slave to his or her habits.
Healing properties: Indigo is a great purifier of the bloodstream and also benefits mental problems. It is a freeing and purifying agent.
Indigo combines the deep blue of devotion with a trace of stabilizing and objective red. Indigo is cool, electric, and astringent.
Indigo links with and stimulates the brow chakra (third eye) and controls the pineal gland. It governs both physical and spiritual perception. It can be of great assistance in dealing with ailments of the eyes and ears.
- Violet / Purple
Violet is universally considered the spiritual color, and thus the color associated with meditation. Violet is used as an aid in acupuncture; further violet is employed in the treatment of the lymphatic system and spleen. As violet also has a generally calming effect, it is used where a person is overly distraught and high-strung. A person emitting an excess of violet is often fanatical. The fact that color is light the essence of life and we see and react to it before anything else is the basis of chromotherapy and is a fascinating subject, which will be the continually debated and researched in the alternative health community.
Healing properties: These are colors of transformation. They heal melancholy, hysteria, delusions and alcohol addiction and bring spiritual insights and renewal. These colors slow down an over-active heart; stimulate the spleen and the white blood cells (immunity). Bring sleep. Soothe mental and emotional stress. Decrease sexual activity. Decrease sensitivity to pain. They help in detoxification.
Leonardo da Vinci proclaimed that you can increase the power of meditation ten-fold by meditating under the gentle rays of Violet, as found in Church windows.
Esoteric/magical: Elemental spirit. Divination and prophecy. Angels. Psychic abilities, divination, counter-acting negativity/black magic, reversing curses, psychic healing, psychic power, inspiration, meditation, spirituality, spiritual power, astral projection, third eye, compassion, counter-acting depression.
Preference for violet/purple: Colors for meditation, contemplation, mysticism, spirituality and religion power. A longing to ascend and dissolve polarities (purple consists of the active red and passive blue), to improve the world. Reservation, mystery and dignity. Soft, sensitive people with often paranormal abilities.
Aversion to violet / purple: A person who has an aversion for violet / purple may have very serious attitude towards life; and may find it difficult to give dreams, fantasies, vague fears or memories a place in it. May have tendency to rejection everything he regards as unnatural or unrealistic.
Healing properties: White is the perfect color; it is all colors in perfect balance and harmony. It is the color of the awakened Spirit; the light of perfection; the light of the Cosmic Consciousness, the Divine Light.
Just about everyone has heard of surrounding people with the “White Light of Healing and Protection.” White light raises the vibration of one’s consciousness and the body, bringing harmony in all aspects of one’s life. Directing white into to a part of the body that needs healing is one of the fastest ways to bring about healing.
Esoteric/magical: Purification and cleaning on all levels, contact with higher self and spiritual helpers, (inner) peace, aura-healing, truth seeking, consecration, spiritual enlightenment, protection against negativity by raising your vibration, breaking curses, exorcism, meditation, divination, inspiration, clairvoyance, invoking spirits White can be a replacement for any other color your magic requires.
Preference for white: White points at innocence, purity, virginity, cleanliness, freshness, simplicity, nothingness, oneness and completion, truth. In certain cultures white is the color of death and mourning.
Aversion to white: A person who has an aversion to white color is foremost or solely interested in ‘realistic’ and tangible things, not in illusions or things that are beyond seeing or understanding. Knows and accepts the own imperfection and does not wish to achieve perfection.
Healing properties: Strengthens contact with your life purpose. Stimulates adrenaline and heart activity.
Esoteric/magical: Scorpio-energy. Magnetism, to attract or speed up things, extra power, when immediate action and great spiritual power are needed, life purpose, life path.
Preference for magenta: Much energy and activity focused on achieving power and self-realization. Strong but controlled passions and emotions. Daring, ready to fight, willing to give everything for a goal. Can drive things too far and have fixed ideas.
Aversion to magenta: A person who has an aversion to magenta may feel overwhelmed by people with strong convictions or heavy emotions like jealousy; also may have difficulties with exposing deep emotions.
Healing properties: Heals grief and sadness. Restores youthfulness. Brings you in contact with your feelings.
Esoteric/magical: Softness and tenderness, romance, caring, nurturing, for children, youth, peace, friendship, femininity, emotional love, emotional healing.
Preference for pink: Regarded as a feminine color. Pink symbolizes softness, sweetness, innocence, youthfulness and tenderness. Soft and kind people.
Aversion to pink: A person who has an aversion to pink may have a challenge with expressing soft, tender, female side.
Healing properties: Increases intuition and sensitivity. Works disinfecting and antiseptic. Tones the general system. Builds the skin. Relaxes sensations of stress.
Esoteric/magical: Alterations, intellectual and intuitive insights, technique, inventions, originality, renewal, brotherhood, humanism.
Preference for turquoise: Just like the wide turquoise sea you don’t want to feel restricted and you don’t immediately bring to the surface what goes on in you; emotions can remain hidden. A color for non-triviality, renewal, innovation and inventions, progressive technics, alternative ways of living together, humanity.
Aversion to turquoise: A person who has an aversion to turquoise may be looking for solidity and security in society, especially in marriage. Also, may be reluctant to think originally or to walk new paths.
Esoteric/magical: Elemental earth. The planet-spirit Saturn. Stability, grounding, conservation, protection of household, family and pets, healing animals, finding lost objects, material constructions (buildings etc.), material increase, to make relationships solid, to increase decisiveness and concentration, attracting help in financial crisis.
Preference for brown: An earthly color for practical people with a preference for natural, tribal and primitive things, solidity and simplicity. Brown can be warm and cozy but also depressing. Family-life persons, stable people, loyal friends.
Aversion to brown: A person who has an aversion to brown may feel an aversion against normal, boring, trivial life; may not feel connected with his roots (home-land, family, etc.); may experience instability in health and attitude.
Esoteric/magical: Neutralizing negative influences, erasing or cancelling situations, causing stalemates
Preference for grey: Very neutral and indifferent, non-expressive. It can be deliberate, but also lifeless, fixed, depressed and apathic. Reserved, cool people; unwilling to expose themselves or to have obligations. Grey can be refined and tactful.
Aversion to grey: A person who has an aversion to grey may prefers to be straight to the point, no time for political and tactical attitudes. Demands clarity, a knowing where one stands.
Esoteric/magical: Elemental earth. Deities of the underworld. Repel/banish evil and negativity, protection, banishing, binding, breaking free from bad habits/addictions, deep meditation, opens up deep unconscious levels.
Preference for black: Symbolizes seriousness, darkness, depression, death, mourning, mystery, secrecy, occultism, a standing apart from or revolting against triviality, provocation, underground, underworld, things that have to remain hidden, nothingness as the great source of all creation, the need to keep your energy with you. Black is a color for extremes, everything and nothing. People who foremost trust themselves.
Aversion to black: A person who has an aversion to black may have fear for the unknown, or fear for the abuse of power. Desires to become free from all kinds of dependency, blockages, hindrances; to throw off shackles.
Esoteric/magical: Absolute authority, (self)confidence, creativity, perfection, solar energies, male energy, financial riches, investments, luxury, winning, worldly power, magical power, overcoming bad habits/addictions.
Esoteric/magical: Female energy, cycles, rebirth, reincarnation, healing of hormonal imbalances, emotional stability, remove or neutralize negativity, intuition, dreams, psychic abilities and psychic workings.
Esoteric/magical: Love and passion, for positive relationships in love, friendship and business, career promotions, negotiations.
The fact that color is light the essence of life and we see and react to it before anything else is the basis of chromotherapy and is a fascinating subject, which will be the continually debated and researched in the alternative health community.Reference: “Chromortherapy – Healing by Color”, by Sacha Tarkovsky Color Psychology, How Colors Impact Moods, Feelings, and Behaviors, by Kendra Cherry