Mood Rings and Yellow Brick Roads

By Donna Easto

Mood rings seem to be making a comeback. It’s no surprise that if your ring turns black, it’s not a good sign but blue, purple or pink indicate your moods are in good shape. The most common colour for a mood ring to display is somewhere between blue and green, with green being a transitional colour between unsettled orange and upbeat blue.

When it comes to music however, the colour blue in song titles leads the way with black a close second. My love of  yellow (submarine, brick road, taxi) comes in second last to hazel (Kelly Clarkson’s Behind These Hazel Eyes) What are your favourite “colour” songs, do you “see” songs in colour?  If you’re one of the lucky people who live in a world where thoughts, sounds and words are multi-coloured, (synesthesia) you’re in good company. Writer Vladimir Nabokov, artist Vincent Van Gogh and musicians Duke Ellington and Franz Liszt all experienced one of their senses through colour.  

Are there places where  you feel happier? According to the North American Mental Health Professional Advice Council, there are happy colours and there are sad colours. The field of colour psychology explores the impact of colours in relation to human behaviour, to help us understand why we suddenly crave moody blues, or as my cousin once did, paint the entire inside of the house black. 

According to the NAMHPAC, the sad colours in order of sadness are:

  1. Black, the colour of mourning, sadness and fear. It can make us feel intimidated and unapproachable because it’s linked with authority and power. Every Hallowe’en we see villains garbed in black costumes roaming our streets.
  2. Dark blues, although lighter shades produce feelings of calm, dark shades are said to create a cold, unfeeling atmosphere.
  3. Grays, a dull, moody sad colour that can cause feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  4. Greens, while green can be soothing and relaxing it’s all in the balance. Too much can make us moody and lazy, too little can cause feelings of apathy and rejection.
  5. Dark purples, can make you feel gloomy, irritable and arrogant while lighter tones encourage spirituality, creativity and sensitivity.
  6. Beiges, really neither sad nor happy beiges are downright boring.
  7. Dark browns, make us sad and wistful.

But what about happy colours? According to an alternative medicine system called chromotherapy, some happy colours in no particular order are:

  1. Red, energizing and invoragating when you’re feeling tired or down. However, it’s powerful medicine and is used carefully in colour therapy.
  2. Blue, used to treat depression and pain, darker blues have sedative properties and may be used in treating sleep disorders.
  3. Green, the colour of nature (forest bathing) helps relieve stress.
  4. Yellow, improves your mood making you happy and optimistic.
  5. Orange, for happy emotions and a good appetite.

Regardless of the experts, if a certain colour makes you feel sad, it’s not for you, and one person’s happy colour may not be yours. Be intentional about the colours you choose, from your clothes to your walls. The brightness, tint, tone, shade and whether a colour is cool or warm-toned all have an influence on your mood and behaviour. It’s been proven that a lack of colour in the workplace, like a neutral gray, will actually increase the risk of burnout and decrease productivity. Workplaces and homes that encourage natural elements like green leaves and sunlight are positively relaxing.  

“If the gray matter were more colorful, the world would have fewer dark ideas.” Pierre Dac.

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