Colour is all around us. And, whether we realise it or not, it has the ability to influence our emotions and how we react to different situations.
For example, the colour red is often used for anger, but it is also the colour of a love heart. Blue is commonly known to be relaxing and yet can also be seen as cold. This is because what you see on a day-to-day basis may change, depending on your mood.
‘Colours are never straight-forward,’ says Walaa, a colour specialist, interior designer and yoga teacher. ‘To see colour, light receptors in our eye transmit the reflected light off an object into our visual cortex where we perceive the colour. At the same time, some retinal cells send signals to the hypothalamus, which is able to control body temperature, metabolism, sleeping behavioural patterns and appetite.
‘Therefore, colour is so much more than what we see. It’s perception and our brain’s translation of light vibrations. It might not be exactly how the object looks in the real world, but how we experience it.’
This may explain why men simply see red, while women, who are more in-tune with their emotions, might see scarlet, cherry and crimson.
According to Walaa, our colour choices can help us understand our emotions and through colour therapy we can find balance, raise energy levels, quash inner fears and even declutter toxic relationships.
‘Whenever you’re attracted to a certain colour, or repelled by one, this is your subconscious saying you need to heal, take action, or change something,’ she says.
‘For example, if you’re attracted to orange, your subconscious might be saying that you have some blocked obstacles to joy that need releasing. If you’re repelled by green, it’s a calling that you don’t want to be open and vulnerable.’
Colour therapy, also called chromotherapy, is the idea that colour can help treat physical or mental health. Walaa uses colour therapy and other forms of alternative medicine to help her clients release anxiety, ease depression and connect with themselves through workshops, breathing exercises, meditations and one-on-one sessions.
‘The colours that are around you play a big role in your lifestyle, wellbeing and mental health,’ she says.
‘When working with people, it’s the colours I see and feel in their body that tell me what’s going on with them and what they need.
‘Usually I’m looking to help people, so I am looking for colours that are not shining and need more attention. I then help people to release the emotional and energetic blockages that are stopping these colours from shining.’
While colour therapy is thought to date back to the ancient Egyptians, who document using colour to cure ailments on papyrus scrolls, the modern-day alternative treatment can be administered using lights, clothing, visualisation, breathing and even food.
Walaa’s approach is guiding clients with meditation and visualisation to manifest what’s needed.
‘Colours are aligned with each of the body’s seven chakras, known as the energy systems in the body,’ she says.
‘Each chakra vibrates at a particular frequency and is aligned with a specific colour, i.e. red for the base/root, green for the heart (middle) and violet for the crown.
‘If one of your chakras is blocked, you will feel unbalanced. When meditating you pull the colours from their wavelength, so from the ground, horizontally and from the sky etc. This is the best way to take them into the body’s energy.’
While this might all sound a bit woo-woo, it’s worth remembering that light therapy is used to treat a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder in the winter months, and blue light therapy is commonly used in hospitals to treat babies with jaundice.
‘Colour therapy is a relatively new field of medicine and we still have a lot to learn,’ says Dr Mohab Ibrahim, Associate Professor with the Departments of Anesthesiology, Neurosurgery, and Pharmacology at the University of Arizona.
‘But colour affects our mood, even if we do not know it. For example, have you noticed that many of the fast-food restaurants have red, orange, or yellow colour themes? This is because hot colours such as red, orange and yellow have been associated with stimulating appetites.
‘Also, we’re regularly told to avoid blue lights at bedtime as they can affect our circadian rhythm and suppresses the sleep hormone melatonin.
‘And some colour exposures have been shown to slow some forms of oral infections, while green is shown to decrease pain, anxiety, and improve quality of life. It’s amazing that visual exposure to different colours can actually have measurable biological effects.’
While more research is needed into colour therapies, Dr Ibrahim says he’s an advocate of complementary therapy and considers light therapy to be just that. Therefore, it might be worth considering what colours you surround yourself with in the future — just in case.
Drawn to a certain colour? This is what it says about your life, according to Walaa
This could mean anger and pain in the physical body need to be released. It could symbolise you are going through material and physical changes.
Advice: Tune into your body, and ask what it needs.
When seen in the energetic body it’s a symbol that the person is going through emotional changes and needs to release sadness and grief.
Advice: Give yourself time to connect to what nourishes you.
Life might challenge you and require you to believe in yourself and find strength from within.
Advice: Visualise sunshine flowing from within you, let yourself shine!
The colour of openness, growth and unconditional love, this may mean it’s time to let go of grudges and anything holding you back.
Advice: Grab a green pen and write forgiveness letters to situations, people and yourself.
This is the colour that calls us to align with our hidden truths and is a sign you need to show your true colours.
Advice: Listen to your inner thoughts and go and make it happen.
Walaa’s book, Heal Yourself With Colour: Harness The Power Of Colour To Change Your Life, is out now, £11.99.
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