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Health and Fitness News

The Psychology of Color

A crash course on the powerful effects color can have on your mood.

​​Everywhere you look, there’s color. The world would be a boring place without color to bring diversity and interest. Though you may not realize it, color is a powerful communication tool. Certain colors are known to affect your feelings, mood, and actions. Interior decorators keep this in mind as they design spaces. Artists purposely choose colors to create a desired effect on the viewer. You can wield the power of color the next time you paint a room by choosing a color that encourages the mood you’re hoping for in that specific room.

​Some colors have a universal response (red is warm and blue is cold) and other colors create a subjective response that’s been learned from culture or influenced by personal preference. But in general, colors are known to produce the following positive and negative responses. 

​Red = Warmth

​The colors at the beginning of the spectrum (red, orange, and yellow) are warm colors. Think of the colors of fire and the sun. Having the longest wavelength of light, red is a powerful and stimulating color. It’s used to represent strength, warmth, excitement, and love, but it’s also known to elicit feelings of anger, aggression, danger, and defiance. Studies show that red triggers the adrenaline response of fight or flight. Your pulse quickens and your blood pressure increaseswhen you see red. 

​Orange = Stimulating

​A combination of red and yellow, orange is a warm and stimulating color. Its presence may cause feelings of security, passion, and fun, and it remind you of the physical comforts of food and shelter. On the negative side, orange may also signify deprivation, immaturity, or frustration. 

​Yellow = Joy

​An especially powerful color, yellow is bright, sunny, and happy, but it can also make you short-tempered and anxious. Yellow may increase your creativity, friendliness, optimism, and confidence, but it can also cause fear, depression, and insecurity. Yellow is rarely a favorite color so you may have trouble selling a yellow house. 

​Green = Nature

​Combine blue and yellow and you get green. Green is associated with nature, good luck (think: money and Saint Patrick), balance, rest, peace, rest, and environmental awareness. It’s also an emotionally soothing color that promotes creativity and boosts mental health. Despite its positive attributes, for some people, green is a boring and bland color. 

​Blue = Serenity

​Trustworthiness, intelligence, security, and serenity are associated with the color blue. It may also increase productivity and creativity. The presence of blue may lower body temperature and heart rate, creating a soothing and calming effect. For some people, blue brings thoughts of coldness, a lack of emotion, aloofness, and unfriendliness.

​Purple = Truth

​The color of royalty and wealth, purple is associated with wisdom, introspection, truth, quality, and spirituality. Interestingly, the wrong tone of purple may make something look cheap or artificial.

​White = Space

​White is a total reflection of colors and can be a strain on the eyes. It represents purity, cleanliness, innocence, and goodness. Think of a bride in a white dress. In a room, white walls make a space feel bigger and brighter. White can also be associated with coldness, sterility, and unfriendliness. Don’t believe it? Spend some time in the hospital and you’ll understand. 

​Brown = Strength

​It’s earthy, warm, and natural, with the ability to make you more serious, reliable, and supportive. Brown can convey feelings of security and strength but can also be heavy, drab, and lack sophistication. 

​Black = Sadness

​The opposite of white, black is all the colors combined and the absence of light. Black is the color of mourning, death, evil, and oppression. It’s also seen as formal, sophisticated, and a symbol of authority and security.