Today, we delve into a fascinating aspect of environmental psychology: colour therapy and colour psychology. Understanding how colours influence our mood, thoughts, and behaviour can be a valuable tool in our journey towards better health and well-being.
The Science Behind Colours
The study of colour psychology, as explained by Sally Augustin, PhD, explores how different hues, saturations, and brightness levels affect our mental and emotional states. This scientific exploration, though relatively new, has roots in ancient cultures where colours were used for healing and emotional influence.
Sir Isaac Newton’s experiments in 1666 laid the foundation for our understanding of colour. He demonstrated how white light when passed through a prism, separates into all visible colours, each with its unique wavelength.
Colour Theory in Practice
Colour psychology goes beyond aesthetics. It’s about how colours can stimulate or soothe us. Bright, warm colours like reds, oranges, and yellows evoke energy and happiness, making them ideal for spaces like dining rooms and kitchens. In contrast, cool colours like blues, greens, and purples offer a calming effect, perfect for bedrooms and relaxation spaces.
Chromotherapy, or colour healing, suggests that colours can have a physiological and psychological impact. For instance, blue might calm an agitated person, while red could energise someone feeling low.
The Impact of Hue, Saturation, and Brightness
Augustin emphasises the importance of hue, saturation, and brightness in colour psychology. Hue refers to the colour itself, saturation to the purity of the colour, and brightness to the amount of white present in the colour. The right combination can create spaces that foster relaxation, concentration, or energy.
Cultural Perspectives on Colours
It’s crucial to recognise that responses to colours are also shaped by culture and personal experiences. For example, while white signifies purity and innocence in Western culture, it represents mourning in many Eastern cultures.
Colours and Their Associations
– Red and Orange: Evoking warmth and stimulating appetite.
– Yellow: A colour of joy, warmth, and positive thinking.
– Green: Soothing and easy on the eyes, often used in educational and medical settings.
– Blue: Energising, yet calming, and linked to clarity of thought.
– Violet: Balancing stimulation and calmness, and fostering imagination.
– Black: Associated with power, rebirth, and drama.
– White: Creating a sense of space, openness, and a blank canvas for creativity.
Chromotherapy in Healing
Historically, cultures like the Egyptians and Chinese practised chromotherapy. Today, it’s seen as an alternative treatment where colours like red stimulate, yellow purifies, and blue soothes. A 2020 study even suggested its effectiveness in combating compassion fatigue among ICU nurses.
Colour in Urban Renewal
Ingrid Fetell Lee’s book “Joyful” highlights the transformative power of colour in urban spaces. The revitalisation of Tirana, Albania, through vibrant murals, demonstrates how colour can foster community pride, safety, and joy.
As members of the Medshield community, we can integrate colour psychology into our daily lives to enhance our mental and emotional well-being. Whether it’s choosing the right colours for our living spaces or embracing the therapeutic qualities of colours, this knowledge empowers us to create environments that support our health and happiness.
Join us as we continue to explore innovative ways to boost your journey towards a healthier, more joyful life.