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The Colours of Emotion

27 Feb

ColImageours have become part of our language when referring to moods and emotions. How often have you heard or used the expressions, ‘feeling blue’, ‘seeing red’ or being ‘green with envy’, to name just a few?  Are these just clichés, or do colours really have an impact on how we feel?  And if so, how can we harness the power of colour to put us in a particular frame of mind?

Modern science suggests that colour can have a very real impact on our mood and energy levels,  and that different colours affect us in slightly different ways.  Research into the effect of colour on infants found that looking at certain colours can make infants happy, with blue, red, purple and orange being the most effective.  Such findings have implications for both the colours we wear, and the colours in our environment.  While the ‘colour clichés’ aren’t always accurate representations of mood, there is a colour to stimulate just about any emotion, whether you want to feel energised, calm, peaceful, sophisticated or even just ‘neutral’!  Use these colour tips to help you create the mood that’s right for you:


Despite its associations with envy and jealousy, in colour psychology terms, green has quite a different impact.  Shown to lower blood pressure and appetite, it creates a sense of calm and is a good colour to wear when you know you’ll be facing a stressful situation.


In contrast to green, red is about energy – increasing heart rate, blood pressure and appetite.  It’s a great colour to wear when energy levels are flagging and an instant ‘pick me up’ is needed. Perhaps it’s the colour’s ability to create a ‘rush’ of energy that led to its associations with a sudden surge of temper!


Although blue has a calming effect, its psychological impact is not generally one of depressed mood.  Shown to lower blood pressure, it’s also been found to sharpen mental focus and enhance creativity in a work environment.  Wearing blue can help to soothe daily stresses and generate greater focus.


Purple has become associated with spirituality – in its lighter forms purple is believed to promote a sense of relaxation, helping transcend current thoughts and emotions and connect with a sense of higher purpose.  In a more earthly sense, it is thought women wearing purple appear more attractive to the opposite sex!


Orange brings joy and comfort and has a revitalising characteristic – another great colour to wear when a boost is needed for low energy or mood.


Yellow conveys optimism, confidence and happiness – there couldn’t be a more cheerful colour!  Added to this is its ability to help with concentration – a great all round colour, lifting mood and improving performance.


70% of clothes purchased in the UK are black, but what impact does black have on mood?  Black is actually an ‘absence of colour’, as it absorbs all light in the colour spectrum.  While wearing black can help your feel authoritative and sophisticated, it can also make you appear less approachable to others, especially if worn head to toe.

Grey & beige

Both colours are psychologically quite neutral – quiet, calm and non-threatening.  If you don’t want to be over affected by whatever colour you wear, either of these work well.


Brown not only makes the wearer feel relaxed, but will convey an air of approachability to others – a win win situation!

Although not every colour in its pure hue may suit your individual colouring, there will be a tint, tone, or shade that will.  If you’ve never had a colour analysis session before, consider having one to help you identify not only the colours that will make you look great, but will help you to feel wonderful too!