The Joy of Colour

I love colour! It inspires me and makes me feel warm, happy, and content. No wonder autumn is my favourite time of year. The trees are changing colour; the leaves are transforming from shades of green to vibrant reds, yellows, golds, rust, and shades in between. The sky is still a gorgeous Robin’s egg blue, at least most days, and these colours really pop. We won’t talk about what will soon happen in Saskatchewan.

I remember a few years ago when I used to really struggle during the late fall, especially in the month of November. I wasn’t sure why, but then it seemed like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. I blamed it on having a busy fall. You know, when kids start school and activities, the budget gets blown on school supplies and extra-curricular fees. And, after a few months off to enjoy summer, everyone jumps into September trying to do as many things as possible, cramming in those events before the snow falls.

One day, I realized that my November melancholy wasn’t coming from stress or burnout. I don’t recall how I made this discovery, but it was obvious that the lack of colour in my life was the culprit. November in Saskatchewan is an ugly month. The beautiful leaves are gone; they lie in muddy-coloured heaps on the street. It is wet, as Mother Nature isn’t quite ready to leave us with a white covering but likes to tease us with rain and sleet. It is cold. The sky is grey. (Sounds like a song by The Mamas and The Papas, right?) 

Since I still haven’t figured out how to change the weather, I decided to start adding as much colour to my life as I could. Even a brightly coloured scarf layered on top of a black sweater helped. I put a colourful photo on my desk. I wore colourful jewelry. And guess what? It worked!

When I realized the magic in those small changes, I decided to investigate it a bit more. Sure, I’d done the colour workshops in the past where you learn what season you are and what colours you wear. I’m not into that… I wear whatever my eyes like and if they don’t look good on me, that’s too bad. But colour therapy is a thing, not just a fashion trend.

Colour therapy is also known as Chromotherapy and dates back to 4000BC with origins in China, Greece, Egypt, and India. It is said to improve pain relief, faster healing, lower muscle tension, increase blood circulation, improve sleep quality, and anti-aging (reduces inflammation or wrinkles in the skin) What’s that, you say? Well, chronotherapy uses certain colours in light therapy to energize skin cells, reinvigorating inactive ones. Eventually, those cells will produce more collagen, which leads to smoother skin.

Yes, colour can have a big impact on our mind, body, and spirit. Have you ever felt energized and optimistic on a clear, blue-sky day? Yet on a day that is cloudy, grey, and dreary, your mood shifts to make you tired and sad. Maybe a bit irritable. That’s because there is a hormonal response that happens when the body is exposed to sunlight. It’s not just the sunlight that we benefit from, it is the colours that are generated by that light.

Science has never been one of my best subjects, and I tend to take a lot of things for granted. So maybe I did learn this cool fact once upon a time, but I sure didn’t remember. Apparently, sunlight is a blend of seven colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet, and each one triggers a different hormonal change. This is why, when we are deprived of sunlight, we experience physical and mental symptoms. Here’s a brief breakdown of what those colours do in case you want to go shopping today. Please remember that this is interesting (at least I think so) information and not meant to replace medical advice. Please see your healthcare provider if you are experiencing any health issues.

  • Red: increases blood pressure, breathing rate, and blood circulation.
  • Pink: cleansing and strengthening, particularly for arteries or veins.
  • Orange: activates and eliminates localized fat deposits and may help with asthma and other conditions.
  • Yellow: strengthens the body and activates various internal tissues, purifies the skin, and strengthens the nervous system.
  • Green: provides mental health benefits and stress relief, and brings a sense of calmness.
  • Blue: may aid in joint lubrication and stress reduction; relieves nervous tension; aids in infection resistance.
  • Violet: soothes organs, relaxes muscles, and aids in meditation.

It’s interesting to note that these colours are also the colours associated with the seven chakras. There is a simple chart here, so have a look. Not everyone believes in chakras, and that’s okay, but it is worth looking into because balancing your chakras is an easy and natural fix to some of the things that get in the way of optimum health.

Today, there are various techniques related to chromotherapy, such as the application of LED lights, chromium-puncture, and photodynamic therapy, among others, with scientifically proven results. People can even receive treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). And that’s a real thing. A 2017 article in the Toronto Sun reported that about six percent of Canada’s population experiences extreme symptoms of SAD, including major depression and suicidal thoughts. Another 15 percent will experience mild symptoms, including apathy and low energy. There are some interesting stats here, and even one that says case numbers of SAD decline after age 50. Well, that’s good news! Oh. It also says that people who live in northern countries are more prone to SAD because they live farther from the Equator and the days get shorter, thus, less exposure to sunlight. No kiddin’! Just ask anyone from Saskatchewan how they’re feeling in January!

Personally, I will stick to adding colour to my wardrobe and my home décor. An indigo-coloured wall would bring calmness to the bedroom, yellow would encourage creativity in the studio, green for freshness in the kitchen; and a splash of turquoise everywhere for good luck. Whew! Thinking of colours sure brings out the Martha Stewart in me!

“Human beings evolved to delight in vivid sunsets and rainbows, to enjoy the sensations awakened by particularly eye-catching color, and to decorate our spaces and ourselves with bright colors. In essence, we evolved to love the light because of its harmonizing influence on every aspect of the self. When we pay attention to the potential affects of individual colors, we can modify our spaces, wardrobes, and habits to ensure that we introduce the colors that speak to us most deeply in our everyday lives.” –Daily Om

Interesting Reads & Things:

The Luscher color test – Pass online тест | Online Test PadHow to Improve Your Life with Chromotherapy – YouTubeYour colour is your superpower | Natalia Filvarova | TEDxLviv – YouTubeColor Psychology – How Colors Influence Your Choices and Feelings – YouTubeChromotherapy: The Healing Powers of Color & Light | Pegasus Lighting BlogChromotherapy (Color Therapy) – Getting Color into Your Life

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