Imagine you are shopping for new throw pillows for your living room. You look for the colors you like, colors that go with the sofa, colors that match or complement your color scheme. You probably don’t ask yourself: “is this color going to make me feel good?” But you can and you should! Discover the effects of color on well-being!
By Carla R. McBeath-Urrutia
The Positive & Negative Effects of Color:
The effects of color can have positive or negative effects on the human mind and body, apart from aesthetic appeal. Colors from the light spectrum have been used for healing for thousands of years. These days, color therapy has become more of a science, and we can apply this knowledge to our homes and ourselves.
While developing treatments using color-treated water and lights with colored filters, homeopathy researchers discovered that colors are powerful, even in clothing and home décor. In learning basic characteristics of the healing colors, and some combinations that have their own healing properties, you can fill your home, and your wardrobe, for wellness, as well as beauty.
Red can give you energy. Blue can calm you down. Orange can coax you out of a bad mood and help you focus on your creative project. Green balances your emotions. Yellow brings in delight and pink is a powerhouse of wellness.
Chakras & Color:
Ancient Sanskrit writings describe the 7 major energy centers of the body as the “chakras”, and each is associated with a color, meant to stimulate and create a response from that particular chakra. Following the light spectrum, and the order in which colors are seen through a prism or a rainbow, the colors follow the body from head to the sacral area.
The crown (top of the head) = violet; the brow= indigo; the throat = blue; the heart= green; the solar plexus = yellow; the chakra over the spleen = orange; the sacral root = red. Following Sanskrit tradition, homeopathy, a holistic healing modality, has been using color therapy for its entire duration.
Treating not only physical ailments but emotional imbalances, homeopathy has made a study and practice of using individual colors to treat specific imbalances. You can easily use these principles for your individual wellness.
When You Need Some Red:
When you have no energy and you feel down, you need to add red to your life. You have challenges at work, challenges within a circle of family and friends. You may feel you don’t have the “energy” to handle it all. Red is the hot color, the warmest of the light spectrum, connected to the root chakra (center of the body’s energy).
Feelings of being down, not fulfilling your dreams can be helped with an infusion of red. Pure red shores up our strength and vitality and gives us courage to go forward and change what needs to be changed, to create better security and stability. A red scarf, a red chair can give you the boost you need. But red should be used in small doses.
Too much red can be overwhelming and dark versions of red, such as wine or deeper reds, have different effects. A splash is all you need. For a good dose of red, a pure red throw over a comfortable chair is enough. Plop down in it and notice how you are feeling, after half an hour.
Writer’s Block, Self-Doubt, and Other Such Ailments – Get Some Orange!
Orange –connected to the sacral chakra — related to ease, pleasure, sexuality, creativity, and abundance – remedies the fatigue and exhaustion that comes with self-doubt, or an overwhelming feeling of “too much to do” and “not enough fun.”
Adding some orange to your visual field is easy. Put out a bowl of oranges and eat one, then keep the bowl where you can see it. Throw on an orange scarf. Notice, after half an hour or so, that you are feeling better. Then, sit down and write or study, or create! Coral, a powerful color combination (combining pink, orange and red) adds the elements of love and a strong centering, from the wellness powers of red and pink.
For sadness (depression should be diagnosed by a professional, but sadness can happen from time to time), coral can infuse you with joy, love, and a boost of new purpose.
Yellow, When You Have Too Much “Business” and Not Enough Hugs:
Yellow is needed in your life when you feel the oppression of too little warmth, too much business and no hugs, and just a feeling of the “blues”. This color correlates with the chakra of the solar plexus, the center of confidence, self-esteem, and the “seat of joy”. As yellow is the lightest color, it is strong and effective, but in small doses.
If you are surrounded by blue, add some significant pops of bright yellow, in a chair, throw pillows, sofa covers. Put on a yellow top and pay attention to how it makes you feel after half an hour. Just fill a bowl with bright yellow lemons and put them on your table, visible from everywhere.
However, be careful. Yellow is like bright light, as it is the lightest of the visible colors in the light spectrum. Keep your yellow colors as accents, not a theme. You would not stare into a bright light, even though you do need light. Adding yellow to other colors in your home, or your wardrobe will make a difference. It will help you “lighten up”.
You Need Some Peace and Quiet in Your Life –Add Some Green:
Green – a neutral, as it falls directly in the middle of the light spectrum–is associated with the heart chakra and peace and balance. Although green is universally accepted as a soothing color to wear or to have in your home (such as the calming presence of houseplants), it is a wellness color that works on its own, but also has powerful effects, when blended with pink.
Use pink and green prints for a broken heart or when the heart or the emotions of the heart are challenged or under pressure. Don’t be afraid to use other colors with green. It will balance reds and blues and keep yellow from being overwhelming.
A little green will also give your eyes a rest. Just focus on the green for half an hour and notice how much better you feel.
Blue, The Color of Business, Can Enhance Your Expression and Intellect:
Blue is associated with the throat chakra, the thyroid gland, and the power of expression. Long the color of business, blue is thought of as clinical and objective, with almost no emotions associated with it. People love blue as they think they should love it. As a result, there is entirely too much monochromatic blue in everything—websites, homes, clothing.
But blue has an important role. When you need to rise to the job, blue can calm your emotions and give you objective focus. The best use of the wellness color blue is in combination with its complement, yellow. When used with the powerful light of yellow, blue serves to balance the emotions and keep you grounded, but not make you too detached from your own joy.
Another form of blue, turquoise, is a powerful remedy to enhance one’s ability to express oneself. The throat opens, the voice is heard. If you feel shy about speaking your mind at work, that no one hears you, try wearing a turquoise top for the day and notice how it makes you feel. For anyone who feels reticent to express themselves, a field of turquoise in their home, or clothing, will help open them up and express their voice.
Pink the Powerful– The Soft, but Potent, Healing Color:
Recovering from an illness or a relationship? Wrap yourself in Powerful Pink. The color of universal, unconditional love, this color has an uncanny ability to soothe, no matter what ails you. It is a positive, loving, color with the power to break through all barriers. If you do not have a pink scarf, look for a pink throw pillow, or a pink duvet.
Do you want to make your bed an oasis of wellness color and healing energy? Find bedding that combines pink and green. Not a pure color in the light spectrum, but red combined with white, pink has surprisingly strong, positive effects for low energy, down feelings, fatigue and just “not feeling right”. Even those recovering from major illnesses have found that surrounding themselves with pink (in addition to their medical treatment) has brightened up their outlook and speeded their recovery.
Science Tidbit- Did You Know?
Albert Szent Gyorgyi, the Nobel Prize winner who discovered Vitamin C, studied the effect of light on the energy processes of the body in the 1960’s. He found that certain enzymes and hormones were not only sensitive to light, but also to different colors. Other researchers, confirming the need for full-spectrum light for health (the light that is emitted by the sun), found that different areas of the brain respond differently to different colors. This is due to the fact that each color has a different wavelength.
Color Your World With Health and Wellness!
Your home and your wardrobe can be resources of wellness and healing, for life. Learning about the effects of colors that are all around you, using them, and noticing their effects, can help you achieve, and maintain, optimum health in body and mind.
Carla R. McBeath-Urrutia
Carla is a writer in New York City. Her new book How to Find and Love Your Small Space, Outfit Your Small Gourmet Kitchen, Furnish Your Amazing Space using Wellness Colors and Store All Your Stuff, is available on Amazon under her pen name C. Ruth McBeath-Urrutia. Carla is studying for her certification in Color and Light Therapy from the Holistic Arts Institute in California. She lives with her husband, Peruvian artist Carlos Urrutia, in Manhattan and writes fiction, as well as nonfiction. She writes on a red corner desk.