For this month’s tip for healthy living, I wanted to focus on the effect of color in our lives. I’ve referenced before, a variety of natural occurring colors in our food selection tends to help us reach a higher balance of nutrients and healthy eating. But could the colors we surround ourselves with affect our well-being?
Color is intimately related to our psyche and our learned behavior. Some of this is a natural result of conditioning, such as responding to a green light or a red light at a traffic sign. Commercial companies have invested thousands in researching the effect of colors on presentation, packaging and appetite. Even the color of an athlete’s jersey can affect the call made on the field.
There are both warm and cool colors. These colors can affect our mood, and depending on our current state of mind, may be comforting or agitating. This is not a well understood science, and individual responses do vary. Color preferences even fluctuate during the year depending on the season. Let’s discuss a few colors and their potential effect on your mood and outlook on life.
Red is known as a ‘stimulating’ color, associated with increased blood pressure, faster movement, and increase in eye blinking. With this tends to come an increase in hunger. Many restaurant chains are branded with the colors red and yellow, associated with increased appetite and recognition. Yellow, also a warm color, is associated with excitement and a cheery temperament. Orange, reportedly, can help you feel energized.
Blue is a cool color, tending to have the opposite effect of red. It usually portrays a feeling of peace, calm, and cleanliness. Green is also a cool color, often associated with this month’s celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. Green has been shown to encourage peaceful, healthy, and permissible feelings.
My suggestion is to pay attention to the color you surround yourself with. The colors you wear and the colors you live in can affect your outlook and energy. If you are feeling ‘blue,’ try introducing red and yellow into your setting. If you are an anxious person and too frequently find yourself on edge, consider adding greens and blues to your environment. Eat outdoors occasionally. Continue to plan a variety of natural colors for your plate, and you will be on your way to a healthier and happier you.
Nathan J Pettit DMD, MSD
Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics