If you have difficulty concentrating, lack self-confidence or don’t sleep well. . .or if you want to be more creative, take more risks or even improve your physical strength…there may be a simple answer that you’d never imagine.

It was practiced as a healing therapy in ancient Egypt, Greece, China and India. Interior designers have long used it to influence mood. Modern researchers are studying its effect on mental functioning.

Colors have profound effects on us, physically, mentally and emotionally. These effects occur at a subconscious level where we’re not aware of them.

Although associated with negativity, blue can increase self confidence, cut stress, boost happiness, and give us sharper minds. Blue is soothing and comforting.

In Japan, railway companies have reportedly reduced the suicide rate by installing blue lighting at stations, and blue lights were introduced along a stretch of busy road to reduce the number of accidents. In neighborhoods lit up in blue the number of crimes decreased by 9%.

It’s America’s favorite color for a reason

Those sleep best who sleep in a blue-colored bedroom, according to one study, and they wake up feeling happy and positive. Meanwhile those who sleep in a purple bedroom, which is a stimulating color, get the poorest night’s sleep. Purple left them feeling tired in the morning.

Canadian researchers found that being surrounded by blue is best for tasks requiring creativity, imagination and risk taking.

Recently, researchers found that blue-enriched white lighting in offices had beneficial effects on alertness, mood, performance and eyestrain, as well as on the quality and duration of nighttime sleep.

It’s no wonder that blue is by far the favorite color chosen by Americans.

Pink: It’s not just for girls anymore

Unlike blue, pink light has a tranquilizing effect, calming people down within minutes. Pink holding cells are now widely used to reduce violent and aggressive behavior among prisoners. According to one jail official, “the calming influence of pink reduced altercations in the cell by 30 – 40%.” Pink has also been shown to reduce physical strength whereas bright colors increase it.

People feel more comfortable in blue and green retail environments – and will therefore stay longer and spend more. But they will tend to eat more and leave more quickly in fast food restaurants that are decorated in red, orange and yellow. That may be desirable from the restaurant’s standpoint. They want to turn over the tables as many times as possible during the lunch and dinner rush.

Red for winning in sports, but not for taking the SAT

You may not be surprised to learn that red is stimulating, exciting, and passionate. That’s how it’s always been perceived. However, red can also make you feel more anxious. Participants exposed to red, compared to other colors, were less likely to take risks, and performed worse in puzzle solving and IQ tests.

Red seems to have negative implications in achievement outcomes, but wearing red gives you an advantage in competitive sports. Wearing red (as well as black) clothing can make you look more attractive to others.

Most of the studies on color have focused on blue and red. However all colors are likely to have specific effects upon us. We’ll have to wait for the results of further research to find out.

In the meantime, if you want to decorate your home or buy some new clothes, sharpen your mind or get a better night’s sleep, you might want to look at colors with a whole new set of eyes.


  1. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1106236/Feeling-blue-Good-news–colour-happiness.html
  2. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2325476/Want-good-nights-sleep-Find-colours-use-bedroom-avoid-decent-kip.html
  3. http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2008494010_bluelight11.html
  4. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/switzerland/10302627/Pink-prisons-in-Switzerland-to-calm-inmates.html
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17324089

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