Color & Well-being

Color & Well-being

by Kory Waschick

When it's cold out and after the holidays, it seems everyone gets the winter blues. The skies are generally gray and the grass is certainly not green in most places. Believe it or not, your mood and well-being are affected by your environment. When you spend most of the day in an office, the colors you're surrounded by may affect how you feel. If you're working on projects that require intense concentration and focus, you need to be surrounded by non-stimulating, relaxing colors. If you need to be upbeat and energetic all day long, you will be better off with strong, bold colors to keep you feeling alert.

How do you add color into your life — at the office and your home — if it’s not already incorporated into your environment? Most of us can't grab a can of paint and go-to-town on our walls. Just a spot of color in close proximity can make a huge difference. Here are some ideas to get it:

  • wear the color you need in the form of clothing or accessories;
  • change your computer desktop or the background on your smart phone for the day;
  • or try typing the specific color in a Google search and click 'images'. Your screen will fill with color immediately. 

Try to infuse color into your evenings and weekends too, even if it's for just an hour. Technology can help. There's a great product out there that can instantly set the tone you may be looking for.

I recently purchased the Phillips Hue lighting kit at the Apple store. The package includes three LED bulbs that you can place in any lamp and a controlling hub that sends and saves data to your network. Download the Phillips Hue app to your phone or tablet and start creating your custom lighting mixtures right away. Each lamp can have a distinct color and you can watch that color take form as you move a dropper around on a photo or the color wheel. Each "mood" you create can be named. For instance, a mix I created is called “toasty”. The lights take on a warm and comforting glow, almost like a virtual blanket. No, this isn't an advertisement, but a simply a testament of how even something as simple as colored lighting can totally affect your mood and your environment.

Depending on what emotion you’re after, the list of colors and their meanings below should help guide you. 

Blue symbolizes serenity, calmness, peace and tranquility and can increase the quality of intuition among people. It's also idealistic and enhances self-expression. Use this color when you need the ability to communicate your needs and wants.

Purple signifies balance and can calm the mind. It also encourages creativity, expands awareness, stimulates the imagination and inspires high ideals. Use this color when you want to get in touch with your deeper thoughts or if you are dreaming about the future.

Green promotes balance, harmony and growth. It creates an equilibrium between the head and the heart, giving the ability to love and nurture ourselves and others unconditionally. Choose this color when you need to renew and restore depleted energy.

White conveys purity, innocence, wholeness and completion. It’s the color of new beginnings and opens the way for the creation of anything the mind can conceive. White can offer protection and encouragement with a sense of peace, calm, comfort and hope. This color is helpful when you want to alleviate any emotional upsets or purify your thoughts. Ultimately, white can refresh and strengthen your entire energy system.

Yellow is both uplifting and illuminating, offering hope, happiness, cheerfulness and fun. Yellow can inspire original thought, inquisitiveness and enhance concentration. It can also aid in communication and creativity. Think about yellow when you want to feel enthusiastic, confident or optimistic.

Orange can stimulate activity and encourage socialization and optimism. It also relates to adventure and risk-taking, inspiring physical confidence, competition and independence. As a warm and inviting color, it is both physically and mentally stimulating, so it gets people thinking and talking! Orange is so uplifting that we should all find ways to use it in our everyday life.

Red is recognized as a stimulant and immediately draws attention. This color is passionate, energetic and can increase confidence. It signifies a pioneering spirit and leadership qualities, promoting ambition and determination. Use red to excite or motivate yourself to take action.

Color enhances well-being and most of us don't realize the power it truly has. Try adding some color to your life and change it up — depending on how you need to feel for that special task or for the entire day. You won’t regret it.