Colors are not merely descriptors. Scientific evidence shows that observing colors can affect a person’s mood. The human brain associates colors with where they are seen in nature. Does that mean that people react to every yellow object as if it were the sun? In a way, yes it does. The universe is made up of many visible colors, each affecting us in its own way.
Warm Colors (Stimulating)
As the most outrageous color, red represents power and strength. It is a stimulating color that has been shown to increase activity in the adrenal glands. While having more adrenaline can boost the sex drive and rid the mind of negative thoughts, it can also make an individual more irritable. While it affects both sexes, women tend to respond to it with more intensity. It increases the likelihood of impulsive purchases as well.
Though it is merely a shade of red, pink actually produces the exact opposite emotions. The color pink represents sensitivity and love, and it makes people feel calm and safe. While red can be sexual, pink is associated with “unselfish love.”
Yellow is the color of energy and sparks both active memory and decisiveness. Students can utilize yellow to boost their alertness and concentration. Although yellow is the color of energy, be advised that in larger doses it sometimes makes people feel more fatigued and tired. It is the brightest color and therefore, when it is reflected, it is the color to irritate the eyes most. When yellow is observed, the eyes feel heavier, which imitates tiredness. The eyes display a similar reaction when looking up to the yellow sun on a bright day.
Orange is a very positive color and is known to boost self-esteem. It gives people a feeling of youthfulness. Unlike blue and purple, it stimulates digestion and hunger. This can be helpful for restaurants trying to sell more food or for parents trying to get a fussy child to eat their vegetables. Being half-comprised of red’s tones, it too stimulates the sexual organs. Men are more drawn to it than red.
Cool Colors (Relaxing)
Blue is the color of healing because the sight of it causes the body to produce calming chemicals. The color blue can curb an appetite. There are no foods that are naturally blue except the blueberry, so therefore, if we see the color blue we subconsciously think not to eat. People trying to lose weight may paint their rooms blue to keep them from being as hungry. It is also said to heal problems of the throat, from cancer to stage fright. Blue implies loyalty too, which is why many presidential candidates choose to wear blue ties.
Purple is the most mysterious color because it is found so rarely in nature. That is perhaps why an abundance of it is attributed to royalty. Purple is said to alleviate nervousness and fear. It is the color of spirituality and signifies someone’s connection with a higher power. It is also associated with creativity. Some say that purple has the same effect as blue in that it curbs the appetite.
The world is serene when it is green because there are no factors hindering the growth of the ecosystems. As the color of balance, green provides people with a feeling of harmony and relaxation. Green is the gentlest color on the eyes and observing it can actually help to slow breathing. However, be careful! An excess of it brings lethargy.
The color brown signifies earth and nature. Brown makes people think of home, providing them with a sense of comfort and confidence. For this reason, it gives people more of a willingness to have conversation. Men generally like brown more than women.
Black is the absence of color meaning there are no stimulating nor calming effects. For this reason, black generally makes people feel depressed. Too much exposure to black can prevent growth and change. However, some people report a feeling of security with black because it consumes and hides.
White is certainly one of the more tranquil hues. People view white objects as pure and clean. Conversely, some cultures associate it with death and mourning.
Psychology of Color
Every single person has shortcomings. While there is no quick fix, understanding how colors affect the mind can hasten desired results. Using a yellow legal pad instead of a white notebook may help someone remember the important information they wrote. Staring at a blue wall is not an alternative to exercise and proper diet, but surrounding oneself with a little extra blue may prove beneficial to the process. Colors can also be used to strengthen a person’s best qualities. They are everywhere, but it is up to us to use them to our personal best advantage.
For more information on how different colors affect mood, consult the following sites:
- 30 Things You Should Know About the Psychology of Color
- About Color
- The Color of Safety (PDF)
- Color Mood Chart
- Color Psychology (PDF)
- Colors & Our Moods
- Colors: Healing, Inspiration & More!
- How Color Affects Mood
- The Power of Purple
- The Psychology of Color
- Seeing Red
- The Strategic Use of Color
- Test Colors in Your Life