by Jessica Sanders

Improve Your Mental Health with Colors

While a healthy dose of endorphins can lift the mood or time with friends is important for a mental health pick me up, colors can be beneficial as well. And I’m not talking about putting on a pair of rose-colored glasses.  Color has a profound effect on us even though we may not be aware of it. Every day our emotions, moods, mental acuity and even physical sensations —such as appetite—are influenced by the colors that surround us.

While our relationships with color come from experience – socially and culturally we associate certain colors with certain emotions and feelings – Leslie Harrington, executive director of The Color Association of the United States, explains that we inherently make these connections, as well.

Improve health with color

Harrington tells the Huffington Post, “You also have an innate reaction to color. For example, when you look at red, it does increase your heart rate. It is a stimulating color. This goes back to caveman days of fire and danger and alarm.” So, how can you use this to improve your mental health? Colors can have an unconscious effect on your positive state of well-being. Surrounding yourself with colors associated with happiness is the best place to start, whether it’s on your walls or in your closet.

Create a Mood In Your Home With Color 

The best way to inject mentally soothing color into your everyday life starts in your home, on your walls and in your furniture. Your home is your sanctuary, where you can feel without input from anyone else. From paintings, to accent pillows, the right color can make all the difference in your mental health. Some colors to consider incorporating into your home include:


Commonly found in nature, most people have a positive feeling when seeing green. Green is the color that makes you feel more relaxed, and is the easiest for our eyes to look at. In general, green is the color of balance and harmony. When used in your home, go for a natural color of green; but be sure to avoid neon, which doesn’t translate quite the same.


This is also a calming color. As the shade of the sea and sky, we naturally associate this color with relaxation and happiness. Studies also found that those tasked with a difficult project reported feeling less anxious after seeing something blue.  Blue hues represent serenity, peace and security. If anxiety is the reason for your mental health struggles, be sure to have a healthy dose of this color around the house. Best spots to facilitate calm and friendliness through the color blue include your home office and living room.

Improve Mental Health With the Clothes In Your Closet

Though personal style dictates much of your wardrobe, trying to incorporate mood-boosting colors can do wonders for your daily happiness. Though you may not immediately feel attached to the following colors for your clothing choices, a small amount can be all you need to feel the effects.

There are numerous ways that you can add color to your outfits without feeling self-conscious and silly. Brighten your basics with scarves, belts and shoes for women. Men, incorporate colorful shirts, shoes, sweaters, and other accessories to complement your mood.


Experts agree that wearing clothing with a touch of this hue is inviting; it creates a relaxed atmosphere with those around you. Overall, yellow is associated with laughter, hope, and sunshine. Accents of yellow help give your design energy and will make the viewer feel optimistic and cheerful. However, instead of buying an all-yellow jumpsuit, look for ways to sprinkle it into your attire—a yellow scarf or handbag can go a long way.

Red (my personal favorite)

This bold color is not often found in wardrobes, but is a valuable asset to your mental health. Red conjures feelings of passion, but when toned down to a pink, or deepened into a burgundy, it’s a much better fit for your wardrobe. Know what kind of response reds can draw – passion, stimulation, excitement, power and growth – and use that to your advantage when considering the color. Wear red on a date or incorporate the burgundy shade into an interview outfit.

Improve Your Feelings with More Color

If mental health is a regular struggle, incorporating it into your home décor will help you wake up in the right state of mind. But, if you just can’t shake the blues, and don’t have time to sweat it out, colors can ramp up your mood. Surround yourself with the colors you feel and wear the right colored outfit. Or, summon the power of color into daily routines via water bottles, cell phone backgrounds, computer screen savers, breakfast dishes and coffee cups. The right color combination can conquer mind over matter, heal mind and body, and soulfully, help you appreciate the simple joys of life.

Do you add color to your life to boost your mood and mental health? What works for you?

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