How do colours affect you?

I know that different colours affect me in different ways.

Green is a colour that calms:

A few years ago I was having big problems with mild 'psychosis' - my brain was having problems filtering out signals that were less important from those that were important - so it was like everyone was shouting at me if I was in a space where people were talking and if I was in a place where there was a lot of motion I would feel overwhelmed by all the motion.

One day I was trying to cycle to work and it all started to hit me so take a deep breath and try to find something that was calming - and there in the street ahead of me was a bit of branch that had broken off a nearby tree - green - calming ... so I managed to get to work by focusing on the green and then noticing the next bit of green and focusing on that and then on the next until I got to work.

Red is a colour that I notice more if my mental balance is disturbed

I suffer from an inablity to absorb B12 in my diet which is compounded by an auto-immune response to high levels of B12 in my blood that binds the B12 there and stops it getting through to the cells where it is needed - the only way round this is to keep my B12 levels astronomic and I'm quite good as that but occasionally it dips and my mood starts to drift.

The dashboard in my car is predominantly red and occasionally it becomes really distracting - a warning to me that I need more B12.

At night it can mean that I just want to turn on the lights full beam or use the indicators just to have another colour there :)

I like blues and purples - they don't really affect my energy levels but they do make me feel happy - glimpses of ground ivy in spring or blue irises as they emerge fill me with joy.

So, do you know how colours affect you and how do you use that knowledge?

11 Replies

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  • "A few years ago I was having big problems with mild 'psychosis' - my brain was having problems filtering out signals that were less important from those that were important - so it was like everyone was shouting at me if I was in a space where people were talking and if I was in a place where there was a lot of motion I would feel overwhelmed by all the motion."

    This is a very good description of what it is like for people on the autistic spectrum. My bestest friend is Aspergers and also associates different colours with different moods.

  • Thanks but aspergers/autistic sprectrum doesn't fit with my general life experiences - something that I have often thought about though.  The nearest I can get in terms of a link is the B12 deficiency which is suspected to play a part in some autistic spectrum patients.

    It may be that it is more common for people with aspergers /autistic spectrum disorders to associate colours with moods but it certainly isn't something that is unique.

  • Thanks for sharing Gambit. I think I do have these kinds of associations, but they are usually more subtle for me. A clear sky + bright colours tends to increase the content of positive mental talk and emotional feel. If I'm somewhere with very little colour it increases the likelihood of the opposite effect.

    I can say I notice colours more frequently and intensely since I started meditating. I sometimes tune in or intentionally bring my attention to colour in my field of vision. I'll then do the same for textures/reflections/lighting/shadows etc. I actually found this pretty mind-blowing the first few times I tried it. It showed me that I was spending a lot of time sleepwalking through my environment and not really smelling the roses. I now spend a lot more time focused on outward sense perceptions that I used to. I find this very useful when I get caught in thinking, as a way to anchor myself back into the present moment.

  • I find that strong shadows are something that make me feel positive - goes for moonshadows as well as shadows in daylight - really love going for a run down a local sustrans route on a moonlit evening.

    Know what you mean about the intensity of colours.

    Another thing I really like doing is sitting in the sunshine with my eyes closed - after a few minutes of doing that and getting to really relaxed the whole world seems so much more vibrant when I open my eyes afterwards.

  • I sometimes go on walks where I try to keep my attention only on external stuff. I think naturally I'm the kind of person who spends a lot of time lost in my own thoughts in analysis so the difference is really something for me. I live near to the Olympic Park in London and walking around the parks and canals I get into these really deep states where inner activity vanishes and my surroundings become really alive and profound. Where you notice the ripples and micro-ripples of grass blowing in the breeze...

  • Sounds like you are a head centred person.  There's an exercise I came across many years ago which involves trying to spend time in the centres (head, heart or belly) that aren't your natural homes.  Its really interesting locating yourself in your belly and going for a walk - heart centre is a bit difficult because it can get really emotional which can be quite uncomfortable if you are a head type.  That's a really bad explanation of things but may be it will give you something else to try.

    I'm pretty much of a head type myself - walking from the belly is a really grounding experience ... 

  • Interesting post.  This is your investigation and you need to fine tune it.  You are in the region of experience that cannot be shared because of the limitations of language.

    Mindfulness is a way forward, but beware of NHS and psychology mindfulness. Chithurst monastery has some good free books on the subject as well as interesting talks.

    cittaviveka.org/

  • Thank you.

    Not sure I really understand your reply.

    I've never had any contact with the NHS in relation to meditation

  • As time goes on and you accumulate more experience there will be things you will understand that maybe you don't now.

    Grant me the serenity

    To accept the things I cannot change;

    Courage to change the things I can;

    And Wisdom to know the difference.

    Grant me the peace to live one day at a time;

    Enjoying one moment at a time;

    Accepting hardships as the pathway to wisdom

  • I just love all things purple and seem to gravitate to it wherever I am. A kind friend has just given me a beautiful bunch of purple tulips for looking after her pets while she was away, and they really brightened up my day. I wear purple nearly every day, it just seems to be my colour! :)

  • Glad that you have a colour that you can relate to - have to say I really like purple as well - wouldn't claim I wear purple but certainly have a lot of purple coloured possessions - one of which is my rain coat which I wear most days at the week at the moment ... so may be I do manage to wear purple most days.