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Taking a Spin Around the Color Wheel: Is Color Therapy Really a Thing?

What is your favorite color?

The answer to that question, of course, varies from person to person (though there is some data about which color or colors might be the favorite(s) of the most people). You yourself might like a deep blue or a vibrant red or a vivid yellow. Perhaps you simply love green or orange or purple. There may be a special shade that you think of as your favorite version of your favorite color. 

How we might arrive at a favorite color is somewhat mysterious. For whatever reason, a given color resonates with you more than others do—in much the same way that you might prefer one singer’s voice over another person’s without being able to say precisely why.

Mysterious as favorite colors might be, there are those who study the impacts of various colors on our buying habits, eating choices, mood, and even our mental health

Let’s consider their colorful conclusions.

Shedding Some Light on the Question of Colors

People have been thinking and theorizing about color and its impacts for a long, long time. How long?

Here’s what a WebMD article about color psychology has to say:

Ancient origins of color psychology. People have long been fascinated with color and understood its power over moods and well-being. Color was used in ancient Egypt, China, and Greece to evoke emotions, aid in spiritual practices, and treat a variety of conditions. While the nature of color was not yet understood, its powerful effects were evident.

Today, color therapy (also known as chromotherapy) centers on using colors to treat issues including (but not limited to) depression, anxiety, stress, and sleep disorders. But just how strong is the evidence that color therapy is truly effective? 

That is a good question.

It Is Probably Too Soon to Color Us Completely Convinced

We want to be extremely clear that research into colors and the ways in which they affect us is ongoing, and new research may confirm, refine, or upend previous studies. Color therapy is considered an alternative treatment—and you can find plenty of folks who will decry it as hooey. 

Still and all, there are aspects of color theory that have been fairly accepted in the mainstream. You can see the power of the notion that red increases our appetite simply by thinking through all of the national chain restaurants that use the color prominently (often alongside yellow) in their branding.

Similarly, there is good reason to believe the blue light produced by our screens disrupts the body’s sleep cycle. That is why we advise limiting screen time in the hours prior to settling down to sleep

And there is also good evidence that a lightbox that mimics sunlight—a specific wavelength (and therefore color) of light—can help address the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). 

But even if you are not convinced that any given color can have a specific and consistent impact on mood and behavior, there is probably still a case to be made that color can play a part in bolstering your mental health. And that case takes us right back to where we started:

What is your favorite color? 

No matter what it is, there is a good chance that making that color part of the visual landscape of your home, office, clothing, or even your car will have a positive effect on your mood—which in turn supports your overall mental well-being.

Don’t View Your Mental Health Through Rose-Colored Glasses

Many times, a person is reluctant to admit to themselves (or to others) that they may be dealing with a mental health disorder. They might shrug off symptoms of depression as run-of-the-mill sadness. They might try to power through persistent feelings of anxiety. Or they might try to convince themselves that traumas they have experienced are best (and easily) left in the past. In cases like these, the person in question may try to convince themselves (and others) that they simply need to “get over” whatever they are experiencing and move on.

But that is not an effective way to address a mental health concern. At Johnstown Heights Behavioral Health in Colorado, we provide personalized treatment for a range of mental health disorders. We can help you improve your mental health and maintain those improvements over time. You can count on our blend of expertise, empathy, and experience to provide the support, strategies, and resources you need to increase your quality of life.

Are you looking for mental health treatment in Johnstown, CO? For more information about Johnstown Heights Behavioral Health, contact us today at (800) 313-3387.

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