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Secrets of Color Therapy

By Edited Sep 6, 2016 1 2

Healthful colors

Colorful Shoes
Credit: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/1390376

What has color to do with it?

Ever notice that when you are feeling unhappy with the world you will instinctively pull black or brown out of your closet to wear?

Ever wonder why some people seem to get all the good jobs and you get forgotten?

Have you noticed that the teachers will call on the red sweater when there were three other people raising their hands to be called?

Ever wonder why you are suddenly hungry in a green or orange room?


In fact color theory is a science.  Since Sir Isaac Newton created the first color wheel, color effects have been studied.  Scientists have found that feverish patients will feel better in a blue room, and people will not only feel hot and anxious in a red room, but their blood pressure will increase.  This is why few decorators will use red exclusively in bedrooms and why hospitals will paint their patient’s walls blue over any other color including white.

Colors are divided into cool and warm categories.  It is best to create your own color wheel to see this more clearly.  The warm colors include red, orange, and yellow.  The cool colors include blue, green and purple.  

Collage of Kim

Kim Collage
Credit: Collage by Denise McGill


Red is the hottest, loudest color.  It can make you feel excited or agitated, raise your blood pressure or dare you to do bold things.  On a cold day, wearing red will make you feel warmer and attract the attention of people around.  Red is such a good “stop, look at me” color that advertisers will use it most for product packaging.  Next time you go shopping, take note of how many products utilize red somewhere in their packaging.  Even pink (red with white) will grab people’s attention before a plain white label with black letters.

If red is your favorite color, it suggests that you are positive, passionate, courageous, out-going, ambitious and driven to action.   It sometimes indicates you are hot-tempered and emotionally intense too.

Red in your rooms will make them hot and attract attention but will also make you feel agitated in them.  Paint red for a gift box it will say, “I love you” because it is the color of passion and love.  If you are feeling unsure of yourself, or you lack confidence, wear red.  If you want to stand out in a job interview, wear a red shirt, or tie.  It will make you more memorable.

Tea Roses

Credit: Denise McGill


Orange.  This pumpkin color combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow.  It is warm, full of energy and can pep you up if you are otherwise down.  Some studies suggest that orange stimulates students to learn.  It is suggested that if more classrooms were painted orange, they would turn out brighter students.  Like red, orange will revive your mood and make you feel confident.  It stimulates the appetites and produces an invigorating effect.

As a favorite, orange indicates bright personality and intelligence.  It usually means you are adventurous and brave.       

Orange on paintings will feel like the fall, October and Halloween or like bright caution signs.

Color Theory

Color Theory: An essential guide to color-from basic principles to practical applications (Artist's Library)
Amazon Price: $9.95 $3.83 Buy Now
(price as of Sep 6, 2016)
Books on color and help with color choices are essential. Sometimes it is hard to make a color decision and hard living with a bad color decision for decorating.

California Poppy

California Poppy
Credit: Denise McGill


Yellow.  A color full of cheer and springtime is yellow.  This is the color you should wear when you wish to look and feel happy or cheerful.  However, studies show babies will cry more in a yellow room.  Fast and intellectual, it will attract your attention as in yellow taxis but it is not considered a manly color.  Note there are no yellow suits or Mercedes.      

If your favorite is yellow, your personality is colored with sunshine-cheerful, happy-go-lucky, easy-going, sweetness.  You are probably quick-witted and intelligent.

A yellow painting will feel cheerful and warm, even optimistic but not manly.  It is usually considered the color to pick for friendship, as in yellow flowers.


Credit: Denise McGill


Green.  The warmest of the cool colors, green is the color of spring, growing things, nature, safety, hope.  The ancient philosopher Pliny observed “Emerald delights the eye without fatiguing it.”  A green room will make you feel hungry.  Many restaurants will paint their walls green or at least use green carpeting so the customers will eat more.  If you want to feel lively, calm but energetic, wear green with a touch of yellow.  If you want to look deep and witty but full of charm and life, wear green with a touch of blue.  It is thought that if you have green eyes you are a loving and caring person but also possessive and sometimes jealous.  This may or may not be true, but people will make assumptions just on the jealous color green.

If green is your favorite color, it may indicate that you are self-willed, self-assured, sympathetic and individualistic.  You tackle things with purposeful, single-mindedness.  Beware of the jealousy aspects of green.  Try not to be so possessive.

Our eyes are so used to seeing green in nature with all the other colors.  It works to use green in painting with any of the other colors for whatever your mood.

Cold Blue Barn

Cold Barn
Credit: Denise McGill


Blue.  Coolest of the cool colors, blue radiates a calm self-confidence, wisdom, faith, truth, sincerity, understanding.  If you are nervous before a speech and want to stay calm or at least appear calm, wear blue.  If you feel warm and want to cool off, wear blue, sit in a blue room, surround yourself with blue things.  Some studies suggest a blue bedroom will enhance your ability to remember dreams. Why do you think the ocean has such a tranquil effect on people?  The soothing sound of the waves, yes, but also the expanse of blue.  Blue above, blue below.  Blue is also the color that will make you appear honest and trustworthy… true-blue.  It is considered a masculine color, the preferred color of corporate America.  Also it is suggested that it will suppress your appetite.

Blue as a favorite color usually indicates you are solid and honest, patient and confident, reliable and honorable.

Blue for your painting preference is royal or rich depending on the intensity of the blue.

Snow Flakes

Snow Flakes
Credit: Denise McGill

Purple and Violet

Purple.  Often referred to as the color of royalty, purple is the last color in the visible spectrum.  Vibrating at the highest frequency before the invisible rays of ultraviolet makes this color a receding color.  If you wear purple you will appear smaller.  Any lumps or bumps you don’t like will appear to recede into nothing.  However this effect can backfire.  If you are going to a crowded party in purple you will be easily overlooked and fade into the background.  Violet is the color of divine inspiration; to surround yourself in violet makes you think mind over matter, the higher self over the lower self. If you are lacking in inspiration or just want to promote creativity and inspiration, wear violet.

Purple as the color of choice usually indicates an imaginative spirit, mysterious, luxurious, ambitious, dreamy, intuitive, romantic, kind.  The royalty color implies this person is bound by obligations and is a take-charge, highly responsible-type person.  Violet people seem to know why they are here and have a strong sense of destiny.          

Purple for your painting preference is subdued but mysterious, deep but also dreamy; even other-worldly.


Fall Colors

Fall Colors
Credit: Denise McGill

Black, Brown and White

Black, Brown and White.  These are usually not included in a color wheel.  They don’t appear in the rainbow or spectrum.  This is because black isn’t really a color; it is the absence of light.  And transversely, white is all the colors or pure light.  Black is usually a depressing, dark, non-color and indicates a gloomy attitude or dark view of life.  It does have a slimming effect when worn and is usually referred to as “timeless” or “elegant” for eveningwear.  Even so, black tends to say, “stay back” or “keep your distance”.  White will make anything appear larger.  White rooms look bigger but they lack imagination. Black rooms appear small and claustrophobic, dark and depressing. White is the color of innocence, purity, weddings, hospitals and sterility (at least in the US). Black stands for the mystery of the unknown as in black holes.

Browns through beiges are considered neutral and natural.  They are the primitive earth as in mud huts, wicker and wood, ice and glass, sand and smoke.  They are peaceful to live with but not exciting or lively without another color to enhance them.    

People who have chosen one of these as a favorite color don’t understand color at all.  You may lack imagination and ambition, unsure of yourself or your role in the universe, unwilling to commit or take chances.

Language of Color


Wave Lengths
Credit: Denise McGill

Choosing Colors

*  It is interesting that some people will choose as their favorite, a color that not only doesn’t match their personality, but is opposite.  It is as if they instinctively know what their personality is lacking and choose a color to enhance and empower it.  I have always had a shy, retiring streak that has kept me from making friends easily, speaking in public and performing on stage.  However my favorite color is a burgundy wine, which is somewhere between purple and red.  I wear this as often as possible; my responsible side with a touch of aggression I do not naturally possess; my artistic inspiration with heart and courage.  I love this color; I feel I can accomplish anything wearing it.

A lot of thought is taken in choosing color.  Notice the colors chosen for the websites you frequent.  They were chosen to enhance the subject inside but also to entice you to continue and read more.  Obviously the right choice was made, since you are reading this now.  As you pick colors to wear, think about what mood you wish to convey and what mood you wish to obtain.  This will help in making your choice.






Sep 8, 2014 4:04pm
I love this page. As a long term depressive type, I do know that seeing deep pretty colors is one of the first signs that antidepressants are working. FBed, Googled, & tweeted.
Oct 23, 2014 10:20am
I think surrounding ourselves with bright cheerful colors can really improve a sad day.
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