Support, guidance & advice for todays primary carers
Shorter daylight hours and colder temperatures have been shown to make people feel more sad, literally – (Seasonal Affective Disorder – SAD), and black or similar shades have been associated with these very melancholic emotions.
Of course, monochrome is popular and convenient. But if you’re at home caring for your loved one, it can sometimes feel like Groundhog Day. Since we socialise less during the colder months, we may be tempted to wear the same dreary, black, grey, lifeless colours. After all, who’s going to see you and who’s going to notice?
Well, you can do that if you want, or you can do something just for you.
And why wouldn’t you want to do something that will make you feel better and happier?
And you may also help lift the moods and spirits of others.
The science behind colour psychology and therapy
While medicine cannot prove that colour heals physical ailments or improves mental health, there is evidence that single or multi-colours can have positive effects on our bodies and pain levels.
Colour is therapy. Colour is our world.
There’s a reason children and animals are drawn to colour. For adults who don’t like colour, it still gets attention and is unforgettable (you’d definitely remember this issue’s cover photo). In fact, scientists estimate that there are more than 10 million colours on this planet! That explains why I feel so happy when I look at anything colourful. Maybe, I got it from my late mother – she was a young adult in the ’60s and 70’s and was passionate about colours.
In the medical world, some therapists use colour as part of treatments that can have a significant impact on their patient’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviours. While individual colour perceptions vary, there are some general principles that have been observed through scientific study.
Scientists estimate that there are more than 10 million colours in the planet!
What are the best mood-boosting colours?
There are six colours that have been proven effective at boosting our moods and improving cognition. Pay close attention to how you feel when you visualise the following colours and see if their descriptions are aligned with your emotions.
Yellow is a bright, cheerful colour that is associated with happiness, energy, and optimism. It’s hard not to feel happy when you look at a big yellow Sunflower or a yellow Smiley face (even if it’s frowning!)
Yellow makes you feel happy and spontaneous. Yellow is perhaps the most energetic of the warm colours. It is associated with laughter, hope and sunshine. Accents of yellow help give your design energy and will make the viewer feel optimistic and cheerful.
Like yellow, orange is also a warm, vibrant colour that can help increase your energy. This is seen as excitement, enthusiasm, and creativity, making it a great choice for those who are feeling stuck or uninspired. Because it is a bright and vivacious colour, it may help people feel outgoing or even bold.
Ah, my favourite colour, and I’m not even a girly girl. According to Colour psychology, pink is a positive colour that inspires warm and comforting feelings – a sense that everything will be okay. These sentiments are assuring for us carers, especially on difficult days. Pink has a calming effect on people. It can reduce aggressive behaviour and potential violence. Researcher Alexander Schauss found that when prison inmates looked at a flamingo pink card, their heart rate, pulse, and respiration were reduced.
Blue One of the most popular colours, blue can reduce the impact of depression and affects us both cognitively and affectively, making us feel more relaxed and comfortable. Research has found that blue colour can decrease a person’s heart rate, causing a “sleepy effect,” and can also lower body temperature. So when asked, “Are you feeling blue?” Just say, “Yes, I’m well relaxed and calm.”
Green While perceived as the colour of envy and materialism, the good side of the green is healing and inspiration. It can even enhance positive cognitive outcomes, such as improved memory, problem-solving, and positive thinking. Studies suggest that seeing the colour green is linked to more open and better creative thinking. Positive words are more likely to be remembered when written in green colour, and words linked to success were mostly associated with this colour.
Practical uses of colour to improve your mood and warm your winter
Even if you’re the most colour-adverse person, you can still use colour around the home and in day-to-day life to feel better, improve your mood and have a more positive outlook.
One of the easiest ways to add more colour to your life is by wearing bright and cheerful hues. Start small with a colourful scarf, socks or hat. Or go all out with a bold, bright coat or sweater.
HOME DECOR AND HOUSEHOLD ITEMS
Having colour on your pillows, blankets and curtains in your living space, or even a picture on your wall, will spruce up your home. It just makes everything look more warm and welcoming. For cheaper items, choose colourful objects that you use and see every day, like mugs, cups and kitchen utensils – they will instantly put a smile on your face.
ART AND CRAFTS
Painting, drawing, and colouring are great ways to express yourself and are therapeutic. These also make fun activities to do together with your loved one. Better yet, both of you can sign up for a local community arts and craft class – get out of the house and make some friends. Don’t forget to check out our colouring competition in this issue as well. A great colourful activity you and your elderly loved one can do together. Whichever way you want to use colour, you will feel a difference when you let more of it into your life. I always say – We’re never too old for colour!
Karina Foo is a former journalist and started Lady Bold, a side business of her hand-drawn and colourful athletic wear. Put on your Sunnies and visit www.ladybold.com
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