How colours impact moods, emotions and mental health

- March 8, 2023
| By : Mohd Shehwaaz Khan |

Psychotherapists throw light on the influence of colours on the overall health of people

A workshop by Bharti Sharma

With Holi, every corner is filled with colours: from markets, streets, homes to people’s faces! While colours may seem like a momentary gust of celebrations during Holi, they have a long lasting impact on our moods, emotions and mental health.

“Colours are very therapeutic and that is the reason a lot of people enjoy Holi. These colours help us elevate our mood because each of these colours are also integral to the energy system in our bodies, which we call the chakras. So knowingly or unknowingly, we are pulled to those colours,” says Chandni Tugnait, Psychotherapist and the founder of Gateway of Healing, an organisation around healing in Delhi.

Tugnait informs that red instils groundedness and stability; orange, creativity and emotions; blue, compassion and forgiveness, among others. However, Tugnait warns that these colours can also stress out people suffering from mental illness during Holi because of over-stimulation.

“It becomes very overwhelming for them and they get stressed out instead of feeling better in such scenarios,” Tugnait adds.

People are recommended to draw the line, especially in festivals like Holi where these colours are integral to celebrations.

“If someone is going through anxiety or depression or any other mental health issue, they should communicate with people. People with physical illness such as respiratory issues should take the necessary precautions… Setting boundaries is also very important because if we don’t set boundaries, things can get serious,” explains Tugnait. At times, seeking professional help also becomes important.

While colours can be therapeutic, they can also trigger traumatic experiences. “Colours can bring childhood memories that are pleasant but they can also trigger traumatic experiences associated with these colours,” says Tugnait.

Bharti Sharma, who has been a colour therapist from almost 6-7 years, worked as an artist before switching to the profession. “A lot of my audience used to say that my colours [which constituted three colours] give meditative effect. When they told me about the emotions they felt, they were the same emotions that I felt when I would work on those paintings. Then I studied about it and learnt more about how I can help other people,” she says as she narrates her journey as a colour therapist.

“When you see something bad, you start feeling bad. Every meditation starts from the eyes. So, colour therapy is not just about colours. It is also about the environment, the ambience, and the overall surrounding a person finds themselves in,” she says. She adds that colours impact the overall body mechanics, and hormones instil a sense of harmony if a person sees a delightful colour.

Medically, Sharma explains, colours can be helpful for people with a healthy mind. People can surround themselves with colours that put them in a good mood. However, for people with serious mental health issues, a medical assessment is needed along with colour therapies. “Sometimes we give them colour therapy because they are exhausted by the constant intakes of medicines,” she remarks.

“Colours play such an important part in our lives that they also affect the food we eat. If the food is colourless or does not have many colours, it will create an impact on us,” Sharma says as she explains how colours also affect our health.

“Everybody needs different colours because they have different personalities and needs,” she adds.

Her workshops include throwing the colours to unleash mental stress, observing them to meditate mind, and paint in order to attain good concentration powers.

“When I took colour therapy and got to know how we can associate colours with feelings, then it seemed to me that I have a different language for colours. Yellow for me is not just peace and hope anymore, it is also sadness and solace. Similarly, white is not just purity, it is also strength,” says Swati, a visual artist who took Sharma’s colour therapy.