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How to Use Color to De-Stress

By Debbie Mandel

Remember when you were a child opening a fresh new box of crayons or ready to dip your little brush in a clean cup of water and into a bright, never-been-used water color. You felt inventive, alive with possibility and choice. You could break free of pre-existing lines, combine colors, elongate familiar shapes or create surprising curves. Maybe adults needed to ask you what you were trying to communicate on paper, but you always knew and wondered, “Isn’t it obvious?” We are adults now and many of us have forgotten about color, opting for basic black or the safe monochromatic look that carries us from day to night. Why risk painting our walls in bold color when the various shades of white are safer and will surely match with a greater variety of furniture and knick-knacks?

Color has a powerful sensory appeal and many of us learn from visual cues. Researchers of integrative medicine study the impact of color on stress, relationships, productivity and healing. Understanding what different colors transmit and say about people can improve communication and engender respect and acceptance for personality differences. Why do we gravitate to certain colors, avoid others and how do they affect our energy levels? Color addresses the subconscious helping us to decode whether we like or dislike someone or how we feel in a particular room. We don't rationalize color like we do with words. We react to color. Therefore color can help us to decode and refine our intuition.

Change your colors periodically to open yourself up to other people as well as to change your own disposition and energy levels. Here are some colors and what they might mean to you:
  • Orange is the color of cheerfulness
  • Red is bold and energetic
  • Blue is calming and soothing
  • Yellow is intellectually stimulating
  • Green is healing
  • Brown is earthy
  • Silver is spiritual
  • Purple is regal and powerful
So, if you need to transmit power during your office meeting, try wearing something purple. If you need more energy because you are tired, try wearing red; generally, the darker the color, the more earthy and concrete, the more pastel the color, the more spiritual and light.

Color -Centering Exercise:
Try this quick color centering exercise in the morning or whenever you need to re-gain your balance and empower yourself. Imagine that the center of your forehead is deep blue. This is where your creativity and inspiration reside. Next, your heart, no matter what you have done in life, is pure white. Your belly is golden, because you are a confident, golden child. Now align the three colors in a straight vertical line, like a traffic light: blue, white and gold. See, you are now in good alignment and can handle anything.
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout and Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: