Monday, April 10, 2006

Can Colours Change Our Mood

Today has been one of those frustrating days. I planned to do a whole load of editing and I’ve spent the morning answering e-mails and writing this blog. When I tell my writer friends I’ve started a blog their answer has immediately been, ‘More fool you,’ and ‘I wouldn’t spend my day writing for nothing on a blog.’

I tell you I’m inclined to I agree with them. But at the moment, this is more a test of stamina than writing skill. And some of the more observant of you may have noticed I’ve already missed a day because I rarely work at the weekends.

Not only have I been procrastinating but also when I came to print the work I wanted to edit, the blank ink on my computer ran out after the first page. How irritating. It is then I remember all the other things I wanted to print and send to publishers. A quick trip to Tesco will do the trick, I know, but I decided rather than getting my son ready to go out and shoving yet another pair of boys pants in my handbag as we are potty training, I would just turn the writing blue and print it out that way. After all, the colour cartridge has not run out.

This got me thinking: our world is filled with colour. Look around - what colours do you see? Are you able to stare out the window whist you work, like me at a blue sky and green grass? Or, do brightly painted walls surround you? The walls in my study are a deep pink. What colour are the walls around you? Most of the time, we don't even notice colours. But colours can change the way we feel. They can affect our moods. Even printing out my manuscript in blue has had a deeply calming effect.

‘She’s a bit of a nutter,’ I hear you say but I decided to spend a few minutes researching this phenomena and found out scientists have found some colours can make us feel happy and others can make us feel sad. They also think that some colours can help us to learn. There are even colours that can make you feel more like eating.

Try this experiment:
1. Put some blue jellybeans on a plate.
2. Put some red jellybeans on another plate.
3. Ask some friends to take only one jellybean. How many chose a blue one?

Whether we are aware of it or not colour plays an important part in all of our lives, it affects all our senses, sight, sound, smell, taste and feelings. Seeing colour can change our moods very effectively both on a conscious and an unconscious level, red for danger or white for peace. We even use colour in our ordinary everyday conversations, the sky is black, she's whiter than white or I'm green with envy. Our favourite colour reflect our personality

We express our creativity through colour, what colour's we choose says a lot, not only about how we feel but how we would like to feel and can produce a dramatic when added to our writing.

So what does each colour mean?
While the general perception of cool and warm colours is universal, we may each feel differently toward some colours by how they affect us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. For instance, if your best friend always wears blue you may associate that colour with him or her, and so it may affect you differently then someone who doesn’t have such an association. Here are some universal associations with basic colours:

RED a warm colour is the colour of energy, excitement and vitality. It is also a good grounding colour. Red is a powerful healing agent for healing diseases of the blood and circulation. It will also help with depression but it can raise blood pressure or anxiety.
Red, used in a large space, can be welcoming, energising and invigorating, but it can radiate aggression. Red, in a small space, can be cosy, intimate, or claustrophobic. The most emotionally intense colour, red stimulates the heart to beat faster and breathing to increase. Red also increases metabolic activity. As red is the colour of love, it is often used as an accent colour in decorating. Decorators say that red will attract attention. Self-motivation, leadership and generosity are some qualities of the colour red. If your favourite colour is red, you have a zest for life. You like to stay on top of things. Key words associated with red are ‘winner,’ ‘achiever,’ ‘intense,’ ‘impulsive,’ ‘active,’ ‘competitive,’ ‘daring,’ ‘aggressive’ and ‘passionate.’ I use to wear a lot of red when I was teaching.

ORANGE is a warm colour, a social and exuberant colour and represents ripeness, warmth and happiness. If used extensively, orange can be a very forceful colour, but is also a good grounding colour. It is used to increase immunity, help in all digestive ailments and will have a gentle warming effect if used lightly. Orange promotes feelings of excitement, can make you feel vibrant, improves appetite, and enhances social interaction

YELLOW is a warm colour and the colour of intellect and it is used for mental stimulation, it will help you think quicker. It is also the colour of clarity and insight. It is the brightest of all colours and has the greatest illuminating power. It is warm and cheerful and stimulates activity, communication, circulation and appetite. However it is not a good colour for nervy people or people easily agitated. Cheerful, sunny yellow is an attention getter. Yellow enhances concentration and speeds metabolism. It is the first colour seen by newborns and apparently, couples fight more and babies cry more in lemon-coloured rooms, because it is said yellow is the most difficult colour for the eye to take in, so it can be overpowering if overused. My youngest son’s room is yellow, as it is his favourite colour and I have not noticed him crying that much. Communication, observation and analysis are some attributes of yellow.

GREEN is the colour of harmony and balance. It is good for tired nerves and it helps with the heart area. It will balance the emotions and bring about a feeling of calmness. Green is a good general healing colour. Green is a restful colour so will aid sleep; it also represents nature, and therefore promotes balance, harmony, peace, hope and stability. Currently a popular decorating colour, green symbolizes nature and is the universal healing colour. It is the easiest colour on the eye and can improve vision. It is a calming, nourishing, refreshing colour. Hospitals often use green because it relaxes patients. Clear perception, self- recognition, and compassion are associated with green. If your favourite colour is green, you are likely to be stable and balanced. You are a joiner of clubs and organizations-especially those that are charitable. You are kind and generous.

BLUE is the colour of truth, serenity and harmony, by helping to soothe the mind. Blue is good for cooling, calming, reconstructing and protecting. Blue will help feverish conditions, it will help stop bleeding and it will help with nervous irritations. Researchers found that children tested higher on IQ tests in rooms with blue ceilings. Blue, if diluted to a lighter hue, can reduce stress and relieve tension. Is a colour of peace, tranquillity and wisdom and can generate a sense of well-being. Blue gives the impression of space and coolness and represents serenity and loyalty. Because peaceful, tranquil blue causes the body to produce calming chemicals, it is often used in bedrooms. It is believed that blue slows metabolic activity. Blue can also be cold and depressing or pain relieving. People are more productive in blue rooms. Blue enhances clear thinking, diligence and organization. Blue is the colour of tranquillity and peace. If your favourite colour is blue, although you may appear cool and confident, you can be vulnerable. Blues have a high sense of responsibility and must be careful of perfectionist tendencies.

PURPLE is a colour that will connect you with your spiritual self. It is good for mental and nervous problems. It will assist very well with rheumatism and epilepsy. Purple is a calming colour and can comfort and relieve strain. Purple is associated with noble traits such as love, truth and justice. It is dramatic, sophisticated, sensual and imaginative. Purple has long been associated with royalty. It strongly symbolizes power, nobility, luxury and ambition. It conveys wealth and sometimes hints at extravagance. Purple is also associated with wisdom, dignity and independence. Lavender can help with spiritual healing and is used as a tranquilliser. All can aid sleep. Lavender is the colour of replenishing and rebuilding, whilst pink and mauve are restful and calming. Purple and shades of purple is a powerful colour in enhancing creativity, mystery and magic.

PINK is the colour of equilibrium. While red may be considered an energizing colour, pink is the most calming. For this reason the California children's probation department found that violent children had fewer outbursts when placed in a pink room. Being a tint of red, pink also affects us physically, but it soothes, rather than stimulates. If your favourite colour is pink, you are talented, charming and warm. You also have drive, however, it's not an overly aggressive ambitious streak.

WHITE is the colour of purity. It will purify the body on the highest levels and will bring peace and comfort. Regarded, as restful and clean, but too much will appear stark.
White symbolises light, triumph, innocence and joy and it gives the effect of enlarging a space and creates an atmosphere of coolness. White is associated with light. As such, it is often linked to goodness, innocence, purity and virginity. It is also considered to be the colour of perfection. When used with intention, white can represent a successful beginning.

SILVER is the colour of peace and persistence. It is the major purging colour so it is very good for removing unwanted diseases and troubles from the body. Grey, like white, is regarded, as restful and clean, but too much will appear stark.
Pure grey is the only colour that has no direct psychological properties. It is, however, quite suppressive

BLACK represents an absence of light and colour, but can be a deep and restful contrast. It is sophisticated, elegant, dramatic and formal and gives a feeling of solid strength. It can be powerful, aloof and intimidating. Black is the colour of authority and power. Black also implies submission. Priests wear black to signify submission to God. The qualities of black include self-sufficiency, individualism and protection. Black can represent conflicting attitudes. You may be conventional, conservative and serious or you may think of yourself as rather worldly or sophisticated. Wit, cleverness, personal security, and prestige are very important to you.

PREFER COLOUR MIXTURES - If you like lots of different colours, then you are also a creative type, one most likely to work professionally with colour. You may have a fragmented personality. You are open and far less rigid than those with very dogmatic likes and dislikes.

Many people don’t understand the impact colour has on our physical body and on our emotional states. This happens wherever we are: at home, school, workplaces and health care facilities.

Colour isn’t just something we use to brighten a room. More than simply decoration, it alters mood and in some cases actually improves health. Before you write, take some time to think about the colours in your writing and the effect they have on the reader’s senses. Remember, colour can change the way people feel. This is true of adult and children readers.

The next time you find yourself green with envy, feeling in the pink, or sad and blue, take a look at the colours around you.

Now I've wasted enough time and ought to get back on with my work.

2 comments:

mumatwork said...

This is so like, man, strawberry fields forever psychedelic. re the bean experiment - reminds me of the scene in the matrix movie where you get offered the blue pill and the red pill - one to return to reality and the other to maintain a fantasy life. which would you choose?

Anita Marion Loughrey said...

Well I kind of like the fantasy life but I would miss my kids.
Anita