The Emotional Impact of Color

Becoming aware of how colors affect your emotions can help you live a more positive life.

Posted in , Mar 27, 2017

How colors affect your emotions.

My favorite part of home is my kitchen, which features an apple green countertop. When my husband and I designed the kitchen seven years ago, I insisted on this unusual splash of color for the simple reason that it made me feel happy and energized. To this day, every time I walk into the kitchen, no matter how dreary the weather or my mood might be, I perk up.

Colors are emotional—and I’m not just talking about classic associations like a sad person saying they feel “blue” or a jealous person reporting being “green with envy.” On a far more subtle level, colors can be energizing or calming, stress-producing or stress-reducing.

Science offers an explanation for why my countertop makes me feel so calm, centered and ready to create something delicious. One study had participants ride a stationary bicycle while watching a video of a natural setting that was either naturally green or tinted either red or black and white. The group that watched the green video reported an easier and more enjoyable ride than those who watched the other videos.

Read More: 10 Ways to Boost Your Mood

Research is also exploring whether blue light therapy may be helpful to people who suffer from depression. This treatment has not yet been fully studied, but some scientists believe the photoreceptors in the eye that detect blue light are also responsible for stimulating the parts of the brain that control alertness and mood-related hormones.

Pantone, a color and design company relied on by industry designers as well as home decorators, brings emotions to bear on their much-anticipated Color of the Year announcements. In 2016, their two top choices were the beautifully soothing Serenity and Rose Quartz, which the company said reflected customers’ desires for mindfulness, well-being and stress-reduction in their lives.

Doesn’t their description of the colors sound dreamy? “Rose Quartz is a persuasive yet gentle tone that conveys compassion and a sense of composure. Serenity is weightless and airy, like the expanse of the blue sky above us, bringing feelings of respite and relaxation even in turbulent times.”

It certainly sounded dreamy to me—I redecorated my bedroom in those hues this year. And imagine my delight when Pantone announced their 2017 Color of the Year: Greenery, which they describe as “a refreshing and revitalizing shade,” and “symbolic of new beginnings.”

I could have told you that—now if you’ll excuse me, I feel the urge to go try out a new recipe!

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