Color psychology is around us all the time, whether we register it or not. Does green make you feel grounded? Do you associate black hues with power? Maybe specific colors even symbolize luck, wealth or healing in your culture.
Colors have a strong impact on our brain, but how can we harness this to our advantage?
What Is Color Therapy?
Before we can talk about using color therapy, we have to explain what it means and how it works.
Color therapy, also called chromotherapy, aides our mental or physical health with colors or colored lights. It’s not an exact science, but early research and historical use suggest chromotherapy can be a helpful, alternative healing tool.
Using colors strategically in your life can evoke positive feelings, though you still must keep in mind that everyone reacts differently to various shades. Be mindful of how you respond both mentally or physically to different colors.
Combat Seasonal Mood Changes with Color Therapy
As colder, darker months creep up, so can seasonal mood changes. You may feel more tired, sluggish or depressed. Luckily, there are ways you can fight off the winter blues using color therapy!
If you’re dealing with depression or severe mood changes, you should consider consulting a healthcare professional, but here’s how color therapy can help soften those swings.
1. Buy a Seasonal Affective Disorder Lamp
It’s no secret getting sufficient sunlight during the winter months is a challenge, especially if you live far from the equator. This lack of natural sunlight can put a damper on your mental well-being.
Seasonal affective disorder lamps, or SAD lamps, can help. SAD lights use full-spectrum (white) or blue light to mimic the sun’s rays. Spending time in front of these lamps can support melatonin regulation, along with serotonin and other hormones.
2. Paint Your Office
If colors can evoke emotions, it makes sense that the shade of your walls can affect your mood. Try switching up the paint in your office, bedroom or living space to beat those winter blues.
How you interpret and respond to various colors can differ from others, so go with what calms, stimulates or inspires you.
3. Skip the Screens
You’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t use your phone before bed—and like most people, you probably ignore that advice. No judgment here!
However, it’s true. The bright, blue light emitted by your phone, TV and computer all interfere with your circadian rhythm, a.k.a. the biological clock that tells your body when to sleep. That’s actually why SAD lamps are effective: this light suppresses melatonin.
While this is beneficial during the day, it’s not so great at night. Turn off the screens two-to-three hours before going to bed. This can improve your quality of sleep, helping you combat that seasonal fatigue.
4. Get in the Sun
It may seem simple, but one of the easiest ways to combat SAD using color therapy is heading outdoors. Soaking up the sun is like the unplugged version of using a seasonal affective disorder lamp. It’s the original source of blue light!
Try to head outside during the day, or move your office around so you’re exposed to more natural light.
5. Add Color to Your Space
You don’t have to commit to painting an entire room to reap the benefits of color therapy. There’s more than one way to do it! Bring home a bouquet of flowers, buy a colorful art print, or choose a vibrant throw blanket.
Hues found in nature (think yellows, greens and blues) are often beneficial choices. Feel free to use that outdoorsy palette, or choose whichever colors evoke happy, calm or energizing emotions within you.
6. Choose Warm Bulbs
We know blue light is beneficial for combatting SAD during the day, but it messes with our sleep cycles at night. Swap the e-reader for a physical book and change your lamps to warm bulbs.
Not only does this add a level of coziness to your bedroom, it may promote relaxation. Plus, warm light won’t interfere with your circadian rhythm. It’s a win-win!
If you still want to soak up that blue light during the day, add a Himalayan salt lamp to your space. These orangey-pink stones offer some much-needed warmth in those winter months. You’ll be ready to curl up and drift off in no time.
We interact with color psychology during our day-to-day lives more than we realize. Luckily, we can harness the power of color therapy to boost our mood as seasonal changes take a toll on our well-being.
Try soaking up sources of blue light during the day by using a SAD lamp or heading outdoors, but aim for warmer colors at night to protect your sleep schedule. Don’t forget, a small pop of color can go a long way!
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- Newsom, Rob. “How Blue Light Affects Sleep.” Sleep Foundation, OneCare Media, 24 June 2021, www.sleepfoundation.org/bedroom-environment/blue-light.
- SAD. “Blue Light or White Light?” SAD Lights, Lamps & Dawn Simulators from SAD UK, www.sad.co.uk/resources/blue-light-or-white-light.htm.
- Scully, Simone M. “The Mood Boosting Benefits of Color Therapy.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 30 July 2020, www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/the-mood-boosting-benefits-of-color-therapy#_noHeaderPrefixedContent.
- Towers, Paige. “How Adding Color to My House Increased My Joy.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 1 Sept. 2020, www.healthline.com/health/color-therapy-painting-your-home#Painting-the-walls-with-brilliant-color-memories.