People tend to downplay the effects of color on mood. Most people wake up in the morning and throw on whatever clothing that is clean and not wrinkled. What most people may not realize is that the color they choose to wear for the day can impact they’re overall mood throughout the day. Brighter or warm colors (red, orange, yellow) can help people feel more energized or lighten ones’ mood. Darker or cool colors (green, blue, purple) can cause people to experience a mellow and relaxed mood. For example, wearing red has a way of making people feel competent, energized and more able to complete tasks. Wearing blue on the other hand, has a way of making people feel calm or at ease.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve tried to pay more attention to the impact of color on me. When I think about the effects of color, I often think about my bright yellow sweater. Most people are drawn to the color yellow because it tends to make people think of sunshine and to feel joy. Every time I wear my yellow sweater, people smile and comment on how much they like the bright color. Over the years I have learned that it’s helpful to wear brighter colors on cloudy days because the brightness of the color can combat the grayness of the day and improve my mood. It may seem like I prefer warm colors over cool colors. This not the case. During times that I feel anxious, ungrounded, or even angry, it is helpful for me to wear or look at cool colors, like light green or light purple. Cool colors are known to have a calming effect on mood. Looking at up at the blue sky, or looking at the green leaves on a tree for a couple of minutes can be a quick activity to improve mood if you are feeling angry or stressed out.
It’s important to pay attention to colors and the impact they have on you. Choosing a color to be around or wear, can have a positive or not so positive effect on your mood, depending on what your mood is. The next time you feel sad or depressed, try wearing or looking at something with a bright or warm color. The next time you feel anxious or angry, try wearing or looking at something for a couple of minutes with a darker or cool color. Have fun getting to know the impact of colors on your mood.
Christina is a Psychotherapist in private practice in Oakland California.