Many of us exhibit symptoms of SAD, or seasonal affective disorder, in winter such as irritability, tiredness or low energy (even carb cravings are a sympton!). The days are darker and shorter, and so naturally, feelings of depression occur. If your mood is altered in winter, there are some steps you can take to feel better, including colors you can wear to instantly boost your mood. What are they?
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We sat down with Dr. Stephanie O’Leary, Psy.D., to find the answer. To start, Dr. O'Leary explained that researchers have established that color does impact certain biological functions, such as blood pressure and metabolism (although, this can be situational--ie. people who are warm tend to show a preference towards "cool" colors). Additionally, chromotherapy is a form of holistic healing that "uses the visible spectrum of light and color to affect a person's mood and health." It's more of a "pseudoscience" than anything, Dr. O'Leary explained, as it's based on practical observations rather than scientific results. But there are some ways that you can support your mood with color, according to O'Leary.
What are they? Click to find out.
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"Find the color that works for you and put it everywhere you can see it," Dr. O'Leary advises. So, this may vary from person to person, but for example, "If red energizes you without making you anxious, set your screensaver to that hue and wrap yourself in a maroon scarf. If yellow brings you joy, buy some daffodils and invest in a lemon colored coffee mug. Keep in mind that colors may have a different impact depending on time of day or your state of mind, and be willing to change things up if a certain shade or hue isn't working anymore."
A good tip would be to give yourself a quick color quiz by staring at different colors for a few minutes at a time, and then evaluation your mood. The colors that make you feel good should be the ones you wear in winter.
Good to know! But there's emore...
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Another powerful way to take advantage of color is through association, Dr. O'Leary explains. "For example, practice meditation or progressive muscle relaxation, both activities that trigger favorable shifts in brain waves, while keeping a certain color in mind or in view. Later, if you're feeling stressed or down, think of or view that same color to help you re-establish a calm, centered, positive frame of mind."
So, there you have it! A few tricks for using color to boost your mood this winter. Chin up!
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Stephanie O'Leary, Psy.D. is a Clinical Psychologist specializing in Neuropsychology, mom of two, and author of Parenting in the Real World. She provides parents with a no-nonsense approach to navigating the daily grind while preparing their child for the challenges they’ll face in the real world.
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