Colors may influence how we feel and what we do
Is color science the path to greater health and happiness?
Color is a creation of our brains that does not technically exist in the physical world. Color is nothing more than light in varying wavelengths. Each color has a unique wavelength, thus creating what we see as the color. We see color because the retinas in our eyes have sensors, or cones, that detect those wavelengths. Light is converted into nerve signals that migrate all over the brain, including to the sections of our brain that deal with emotional things.
It is this migration of light-turned-nerve-signals to different parts of the brain that connects color to how we feel, and it’s called color science. Color science infers that colors can influence our behavior and mood. While more research is needed to confirm color’s relationship to our well-being, it seems clear at this point that there is a definite connection between color and human psychology.
Color can affect your mood
Colors exist in a spectrum of warm to cool. Warm colors, such as red, orange, and yellow, can induce humans to feel a range of emotions, from comfort to energetic to desire to rage. On the other hand, cool colors, like green, purple, and blue, are associated with a different range of emotions, from calm to somber to apathetic. Though there is some subjectivity in people’s reactions to colors, they usually remain within the warm and cool color ranges.
Therefore, if you’re looking to create a certain mood, color may provide a way to help with that. For instance, if you’re looking to create a relaxed environment, using orange could undermine your efforts, while using blue could accentuate them. In that same realm, if you’re going on a first date with someone you really like, it might be a good idea to wear red to subtly get them in a more romantic mood.
Color can be therapeutic
A practice known as chromotherapy was used by ancient cultures and is still sometimes used today as a form of alternative medicine. To provide stimulation to the body and mind and even increase circulation, chromotherapists use red. Yellow is used for body purification and nerve stimulation. Orange may potentially make us more energetic and help the lungs to heal.
Blue’s use is for calming mental and physical pain and providing relief from illness. Purple has been associated with sophistication as well as treating skin issues. Green is connected with enhancing creativity.
Current research leaves psychologists skeptical about the effectiveness of color for these uses, partly because the ways color can impact our mood appear to be temporary. In other words, if blue leads to feelings of calmness, those feelings don’t seem to last long. Still, color science has not been disproven. It’s only that it hasn’t been proven beyond a doubt. Keep in mind that all medicine used to be alternative medicine before enough data was collected to prove its effectiveness.
Color can impact behavior
Blue’s use is for calming mental and physical pain and providing relief from illness.
Color science also suggests that color can have a significant influence on our behavior. There is evidence, albeit anecdotal, showing that using blue streetlights can curtail crime. Blue also can make people feel more trusting. A study has even shown that when a sports team wears mostly black, their likelihood of receiving penalties is much higher. Students in black uniforms also seem to be seen in a more negative light.
Red, on the other hand, tends to make people go faster and more forcefully, says certain research. Thus, red seems to be a good choice if you want to be more productive. That being said, red may also cause people to act in haste and thus make mistakes. Red has also been positively linked to attractiveness in many studies.
Using color for wellness
With the realization that color has the power to influence how we feel, think, and behave allows us to decide with more authority the colors that we use in our home, wardrobe, and elsewhere in life.
Knowing this information about color science can impact our mood and behavior can help us use colors to enhance our well-being. With the realization that color has the power to influence how we feel, think, and behave allows us to decide with more authority the colors that we use in our home, wardrobe, and elsewhere in life. Depending on our goals, we can insert certain colors into our lives at different times to help us actualize their benefits.