the Colors of Emotion


Human nature flows from three main sources:
desire, emotion, and knowledge.– Plato


The Colors of Emotion

written by Kendall F. Person
edited by Crystalkay Fairrington 


On April 5, 1968, an everyday teacher by the name of Jane Elliott would prove to the world how powerful color really was. After the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., many curious students inquired as to why he was killed. Jane Elliott proposed to the students, “Would you like to see how it feels to be a person of color?” the classroom agreed and the Racism Experiment was born. In an all white classroom, the blue-eyed children were made superior to the brown-eyed children. With a little nudging, it did not take long for the blue-eyed students to become bossy, arrogant, superior and for the brown-eyed students to become timid, subservient, inferior. It was a powerful experiment then and remains a landmark in race relations till this very day. However, beyond the racial aspect, this experiment raises another interesting question: how deeply do colors affect us?

Maximum security prisons have been known to paint the walls pink, to calm the emotions of the inmates and maintain civil relations, rather than deal with explosive jailhouse riots. Marketers use certain colors to influence consumer behavior; many restaurant signs use the color red, which is known to stimulate the appetite. Red also increases your blood pressure, pulse and attention. Some corporate offices are furnished in blue to invoke productivity among its employees because it is a serene and peaceful color, conducive to focus. Orange conveys excitement and energy. Green, the color of nature, is refreshing and relaxing. Purple represents richness, majesty and drama. Yellow is associated with sunshine, cheer, optimism and clarity. However, while there are general accepted significances for color, their meaning can change across cultures, adding further complexities to the effects colors have on our everyday lives. In westerns, yellow represents cowards and fear and in certain cultures, blue can represent sadness.

If we are constantly being influenced by the colorful stimuli around us, perhaps we can use color to control our emotions, and consequently, our actions? If someone is making you angry, calm yourself by closing your eyes and envisioning the ocean blue.  When trying  to overcome fear or exhaustion, think of the orange sun and all of the energy it stores within. We are in control of how we feel and the actions that result from those feelings. You can choose to brighten your spirits without bringing others down, or you can remain a victim and make victims of others. What differentiates the two? One fights fire with fire (or in this case, color with color). You can choose to seek happiness or you can remain stagnant and docile while life slowly executes you. So choose your side, discover your color, and control the way you see the world and the way the world sees you.

– thepublicblogger


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  1. Thought provoking. I want to add I am fascinated by how much we’re learning about the effects of vibrational frequency upon us. Whether it is via color (sight), sound or simply in the form of invisible energy.


  2. Love this line: “You can choose to seek happiness or you can remain stagnant and docile while life slowly executes you”


  3. There are advantages and disadvantages to everything – it’s all in how we perceive. As a blind person, I feel/sense things keenly, even though, or perhaps because I don’t see them. Sometimes I’d like to turn off this highly developed sensitivity. I could let it run my world, but I’ve learned that moderation is best. Not to turn off the empathic sensitivity, but to let a Higher sense, not the personal senses, guide that perception. Anyone can do this whether mentally, emotionally or with regard to physical senses. It takes awareness and is not always easy. Life flows better when we accept the order and experiences of things, and then allow them to change.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Very beautiful. I work in a bead store that is just wall to wall color and whenever I’m there my spirit elevates… color therapy is a real and powerful thing. Thanks for writing this 🙂


  5. Very interesting. I’ve also noticed people prone to seizures, avoid certain colors after they realize it triggers an episode, and certain blues had to be avoided because of a patient in a group home I worked in.


  6. A lovely blog to get me thinking, thank you Isn’t it wonderful that colour influences us no matter our race, culture, religious or political beliefs? And … that nobody is right or wrong. It is what it is because it is is about how we feel when experiencing that colour. Thank you for kick-starting my creative juices on an early spring morning in Warwickshire, England 🙂


  7. Great and informative post! I’m going to sit here in my attic, surrounded by the snow, and imagine the warmth and energy of the orange sun filling my heart and body. Maybe I can actually create it into being and melt the silly snow. 🙂 Thank you for the reminder that all good things are within reach, and the universe is bountiful.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I find your blog very inspirational and having grown up with racism and studying Jane Elliott’s documentary in college, I see her as a gift to our world. I was going to blog about her too and glad you mentioned her! Looking forward to reading more of your posts, thanks for finding me and following 🙂


  9. This is a very important concept in today’s healing arts. It is called “Color Therapy” and is used by many different types of people to heal themselves. I’ve studied it awhile because color is Energy. I’m going to use my notes on the subject as my blog post today. Thank you for inspiring me and liking my blog!


  10. Sometimes I have to remind myself of this when I’m sitting in a dark room and feeling a little depressed. I open up the curtains and suddenly I’m in a whole different mood. Loved the post and the relation to the white black experiment.


  11. Interesting piece Kendall. I’ve been trying to figure out a way for blind people to experience color. For people who have had at least some vision they understand color but for those who have never seen it’s such an abstract concept. Although I have blind friends who are interested in knowing about colors to be coordinated in their dress and the decorating of their home.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Stephanae – That sounds, not only amazing, but for some reason, doable. I only saw the television production, but how did Helen Keller say and connect the word water when she could not hear or see? Powerful mind, both teacher and student. Look forward to hearing or reading about your progress.


  12. Colours are amazing, which is why I love working with interior design concepts – makes a difference in productivity (my room is painted yellow and green). I also wanted to say thank you for following my blog.


  13. Reblogged this on LIFE—Taking It All In, One Day At A Time and commented:
    One of the most interesting things that I have noticed throughout the years is that it is not only the color around you but the color you where that can also swing your mood and attitude. Take for example when a woman wears a little black dress, she’s going to feel sexier and more expressive of her sexuality more times than being passive or submissive. Her audience is going to react in the same manner for the same reason, the notion of “the little black dress” will always be reflective upon sexuality.


    Each living organism in this universe is surviving because of the WHITE bright sun light, But this bright light encloses different colors, which we can’t see with naked eye. Look over the SUN-FLOWER, It has chosen yellow color (coward’s color) to salute SUN in the morning time.

    It all depends on circumstances what color we should repel or bond with?


  15. Loved your post! It strikes me how our modern day use of colors or what they signify aligns almost perfectly with the colors of the chakra system and the qualities / emotions they represent. Just another sign that our truths are all pretty universal.


  16. I remember watching a documentary about this experiment. It was very interesting to see the change in people depending on their groups.

    As for me: blue walls make me feel down, or anxious. Bright yellows and oranges make me feel happy. I feel good when I wear those colors. Wearing grey makes me feel comfortable. It’s cool to see how so many different colors eject different emotions in people.


  17. A colorful world is a beautiful world. However, it is an enlightening experience to close one’s eyes and concentrate on the other senses: when our dominant sense – the visual sense – is turned off, listening and feeling become much more intense (try with music or while doing sports). Colors are among the most beautiful things in the world, but it has advantages, not to see them.


    • P.S.: I think my next post is going to be about colors, too. Lots of thoughts I could add… Thanks, once again, for the inspiration 🙂


  18. This is very interesting. I previously heard about colors and how they can affect our lives. This brought back the results of a test that I read about years ago. Thank you for bringing it back to my mind. By the way, my laptop is red!


  19. I saw this controlled experience in one of my psychology classes as a documentary. Thank you for sharing and supporting me. Stay true, my brother!


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