There are so many colours in our world and each one is embedded in tradition, symbology and meaning. Colours have long been used to help us identify our feelings or describe what we might be feeling.
I feel “blue” today. The “red” mist just rolled in. I feel “off colour”. It’s not as “black and white” as that. I was tickled “pink”. There are so many to choose from.
Looking at colours also affects our mood, have you ever noticed that your mood has altered after wearing or looking at a particular colour?
Often seeing a particular colour will bring back memories, that evoke positive and negative feelings. We place significance on colours based on our meaning of them and what we have learned from those around us as we grow from a child into an adult. We all have a favourite colour and know how that colour affects our mood.
The top 10
There are too many colours to cover so I will be concentrating on the top 10.
This very often symbolises anger, heat, danger and love particularly in western culture.
Whereas in Eastern culture it symbolises joy, long life, happiness and celebration.
It represents trust and symbolises tranquility, calm and sadness in western culture. It is traditionally viewed as a masculine colour, especially in the UK where babies are defined as being boys by the colour blue.
In eastern culture it symbolises immortality, healing and relaxation and in India it is often the colour of Krishna and is associated with strength.
In the middle east it represents rebirth and mourning and in parts of Africa, it represents masculinity and maturity.
In western culture it represents mourning, death, bad luck, fear and magic. Traditionally wearing black to funerals.
In Peru it is a symbol of time, good health and angels. In Asia it can represent bad luck and mourning, it is associated with death so is only worn during funerals.
In western cultures brides traditionally wore white to represent purity and innocence. It symbolises peace and elegance and cleanliness.
It symbolises wealth, luck and fertility in the middle east and is Islam’s traditional colour and in Japan it represents eternal life.
In western culture it symbolises jealousy, greed, wealth, freshness, nature, renewal and rebirth, relaxation and luck.
In some Asian cultures it represents new life, fertility and youth
And in more recent times green has become the colour of mental health in the UK.
In the UK it represents the sun, making people feel warm and cheerful, however, in Germany, it is a symbol of jealousy and in France symbolises weakness and betrayal.
In Japan it represents refinement, wealth and bravery and in Egypt it represents gold, wealth, status, and mourning.
Represents autumn, warmth, harvest, energy and vitality in western culture.
In the middle east it is associated with mourning and loss and many eastern cultures link it to love, happiness and good health.
In the west it represents nobility, spirituality, faith, wealth and royalty as traditionally it was very expensive to produce the colour.
In Japan the Buddhist monks with the highest position are the only ones allowed to wear purple.
In Thailand, India, Italy and Brazil traditionally it symbolised mourning.
This represents romance, tenderness, acceptance and calmness and in the UK traditionally to signify girls.
This is symbolic of earth, grounding, stability, reliability, endurance and comfort.
In eastern culture it can symbolise mourning.
The meaning we attach
Some colours are hardwired into our brains as they are visible all around us such as red fire and green in the leaves. Bright colours are deeply embedded within us as it highlighted poisonous animals or plants. We are drawn to brighter colours over green in fruit as this shows ripeness and levels of sweetness. Dependent on where in the world we have grown up will have a significant impact of the meaning we attach to certain colours as well as the messages we received growing up from those around us.
Tips for boosting your mood with colour
- Go out into nature and focus on finding green. Spend time immersing yourself in looking for the different shades of green to relax your body and mind.
- Lie down on the grass and gaze up at sky to promote feelings of calmness and watch any clouds slowly drift past to aid a sense of tranquility.
- Pick plants for next year that are your favourite colours, this promotes a sense of optimism and hope.