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Color and Light – Part B

Marcey Shapiro, MD

The importance of color for enhancing emotional well-being is fairly well accepted. There is, for example, widespread acknowledgment of the benefits of both full-spectrum light and sunlight in prevention and treatment of seasonal affective disorder, a form of depression related to the lack of sunlight in winter months.

The Swiss psychotherapist, Dr. Max Luscher (born 1923), has devoted his entire career to the study of how color affects emotions, and he is considered one of the founders of color psychology. He developed the Luscher color test, a psychological test widely accepted in Europe, where many colleges and corporations employ it with applicants. Even Luscher’s critics acknowledge that people do have emotional response to color.

In the U.S., color is widely acknowledged to have emotional properties. Many decorators use applications of color for support of mood and harmony in the home and workplace. Pink is considered by many to be the least aggressive color and has sedative effects. Pink is often used in prisons and mental institutions, especially in rooms used for cooling down fiery tempers.

The traditional Asian practice of feng shui places great importance on both color and object placement to create balanced, peaceful, productive environments. Many U.S. individuals and some corporations hire feng shui consultants to assist in designing harmonious homes and workspaces.

Emotionally, the “cooler” colors green, blue, and violet are generally associated with calm, while the “hotter” colors red, orange, and yellow are used to lift a depressed mood. But if you want to work with color therapy, know that the experience can be subjective. If you are agitated and the “prescription” for you is blue or violet, but blue or violet seem to make you more agitated, do not use them. No expert is more expert about you than you.

Excerpted from Freedom From Anxiety: A Holistic Approach to Emotional Well Being by Marcey Shapiro, MD, published by North Atlantic Books, copyright © 2014 by Marcey Shapiro. Reprinted by permission of publisher.

Stay tuned for more thoughts from Marcey Shapiro, MD,  on “Transforming Health” and Heart Centered Living

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