The Psychology of Color

February 4, 2019
The color yellow works as an antidepressant. It helps trigger the release of serotonin, improving concentration and activating the nervous system

If you think about it, it would be pretty boring and tedious to live our lives in black and white. Colors play a very important role in our day-to-day lives and influence our activities. Did you know that colors can affect your mental and physical well-being? In this article, we’ll explore the psychology of color.

The psychology of color and how it affects our lives

Each color has one or more unique properties. Check out some of the effects of each of the colors of the rainbow and how you can use them to enhance your day-to-day life and achieve the goals you set for yourself. Welcome to the psychology of color!


Red is the most vibrant and attention-grabbing color in the spectrum. It has the ability to stimulate the adrenal glands and neurons. Because it’s so exciting, red is a great color for walking or exercising because it energizes and increases stamina to keep you going. Be careful, though, too much red can lead to stress, frustration and even anger.

Read more: 5 Strategies Every Woman Should Use to Say Goodbye to Stress and Anxiety

Some red apples in the sun.

Aside from being stimulating, the color is also a symbol for love and passion. Studies show that a man will be more attracted to a woman who is wearing red. If you’re not a big fan of this color, you can still use it as an accessory, like with lipstick or a hair clip.


When we think of yellow, we often associate it with the light and warmth of the sun, and it’s for this reason that yellow is a powerful antidepressant. When we’re surrounded by this color, our bodies release a neurotransmitter called serotonin, which transmits feelings of happiness and well being. Studies show that this color improves concentration and activates the nervous system. It’s perfect for offices or other spaces where we need to be able to unleash our creative talents.

A glass of banana smoothie.

On the other hand, babies cry more often in a yellow room and some people have difficulty staying patient or falling asleep. Finally, it’s a good color to speed up the metabolism and is a common color in foods.


Research indicates that blue can cause a burst of creativity in the mind. Furthermore, experts have proven it to have a calming effect. However, prolonged exposure to the color blue causes depression and feelings of sadness. Blue is also associated with cold, as well as seriousness and formality which explains its use in many corporate logos.

A close up of blueberries.

Our brain perceives blue objects as being lighter and so smaller weights at the gym are often color-coded blue. It’s a color not commonly found in food as it’s associated with poisons and can actually cause us to lose our appetites (although this may be a good thing for dieters).


Black symbolizes authority, power, intelligence and knowledge. It is the most popular color in the fashion industry because it’s long been associated with style and has a slimming effect. It’s also a bold, aggressive tone and is a favorite of sports teams (like the New Zealand national rugby team the All Blacks) who want to intimidate their opponents.


White is the most neutral tone there is, synonymous with purity and all things clean. It’s the color of both wedding dresses and baby clothes; doctors and nurses wear white uniforms. White gives a feeling of cleanliness and sophistication at the same time. White also has the added effect of calming and brightening rooms.

Some white eggs on tissue paper.


The color of nature, green is the most used color in interior design thanks to its calming effects and pleasing appearance, it both relieves stress and grabs attention; many schools choose chalkboards of this color for that very reason. Customers often spend more time (and more money) in shops with a lot of green in the decor.


Considered a feminine color, pink is the most romantic color out there. We associate it with a sense of peace and parents use it for their children. It’s known to calm tempers and reduce anxiety.

Some prisons paint the walls of their common areas pink in order to keep the prisoners calm. Even if you wanted to, you couldn’t get angry in a pink room because the heart muscles don’t respond as quickly.

Read more: Reduce Anxiety with These 5 Calming Remedies

Purple or violet

Long associated with royalty, luxury and sophistication, purple gives anyone who wears it an air of wealth and elegance. It encourages deep thoughts and spirituality. Purple has also been shown to intensify and improve sexuality, making it a good choice for a couple’s bedroom.


Some orange slices.

A true eye-catcher, with effects similar to yellow, orange is the best choice in your closet if you want to improve your mood and be more alert and energetic. Combined with red, you’ll be wide awake and alert all day. Orange stimulates mental activity and is good for studying, as well as stimulating the appetite.

So, how is the psychology of color going to affect your life?

  • Elliot, A. J., & Maier, M. (2014). Color Psychology: Effects of Perceiving Color on Psychological Functioning in Humans. SSRN.
  • Elliot, A. J., & Maier, M. A. (2007). Color and psychological functioning. Current Directions in Psychological Science.

  • Valdez, P., & Mehrabian, A. (1994). Effects of Color on Emotions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.