Color, Mood and Mental health

     Who is crazy and who is not? Will this discussion ever end? Is it a fine line or a thin filter between who is balanced and who is off kilter? It has been said that mental health is a “non-sexy”—topic. Not true, it just may be the “sexiest of all!” The use of color as non-invasive, holistic therapy dates back thousands of years to the ancient texts from India, China and Egypt.

     In nature, in animals and in plants, color is everywhere is used for camouflage, for self-expression and to facilitate mating. Without a doubt color preference and selection has a deep psychological effect on our mood and mental health at both the conscious and subconscious levels.

     Colorology  is an alternative medicine using both color and light to balance mental, emotional, physical and spiritual energy. According to the psychologist Carl Jung, the very “act of coloring” helped his patients access those deeper regions of the subconscious mind and could lead to a new awareness of added self-knowledge.

     More contemporary psychologists have shown that his coloring activity has helped individuals with PTSD, anxiety and other stress related issues by calming the amygdala, that part of the brain that controls the “fight or flight” response. When the amygdala becomes overactive, individuals stay in a heightened state of worry, panic and hyper-vigilance. Coloring refocuses and brings more tranquility to the amygdala, allowing the brain to rest and relax.

     Coloring images and designs utilize the brain’s frontal lobes, which are responsible for the higher-level activities of problem solving and organizational skills. Coloring brings into play both hemispheres of the brain, right and left. Uniting each frontal lobe rounds out our own “intuitive globe.”

     The practitioners of ayurvedic medicine believe that the body has seven “chakras” or “spiritual centers” located all up and down the spine. Each “chakra” is associated with a single color of the visible light spectrum, along with a function and organ or bodily system. Application of the correct color is said to correct imbalances as the result of mental and/or physical afflictions.

     The first chakra with the color red has the alleged function of grounding and survival. Moving up the “spinal ladder” there is the second chakra in the lower abdomen and genital region connected to emotions and sexuality. Next is yellow, the solar plexus for the ego and power. At the heart is green for love and the sense of responsibility, then the throat colored blue as in physical and spiritual communication. Just above the center of the brow in the middle of the forehead is indigo related to forgiveness, compassion and understanding. The culmination is the “crown of the head” or seventh chakra which is violet and connects us to universal energies and the transmission of ideas and information.

     Color, mood and mental health are intimately connected in a way that each of the three seems to be continually impacting the others. As an infant we expressed our deep emotions through “finger painting.” As adults we rediscover mental health, mood control and can reawaken the “chakras” through the simple act of putting a brush, pen or pencil to canvas or paper and applying all the colors inspired by the seven shades of the rainbow.

     There is not a single and indisputable theory and therapy for the mind “out there” so why not color? Can color be even used to cure the insane? Some experiments have been done that staged: black for acute mania, red for melancholia, violet for milder forms of insanity, blue and green for the overly boisterous and white for the nearly sane.

     These alternative therapies to treat mental illness crop up from time to time because mainstream treatments of medications and psychotherapies have not been truly effective. Even music, another form of “vibrational medicine,” has a successful track record of ancient healing. A drum could have been beaten when treatment was offered and recovery celebrated and announced with a trumpet blare. Music already used in treatment of psychosis and neurosis can also be administered to the organic disorder of dementia.

     Each part of the body, even down to its smallest constituent, is part of this bioenergetic communication network. “Vibrational medicine” includes coloring as a vital way to stimulate this network. From time to time this ancient field of chromotherapy is resuscitated and rejuvenated—a centuries old concept that over the span of time has had moments of success in curing various diseases and enhancing our overall state of well being.







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