Meditation & Health #8-Color Your World
Color Your World
You entered a room for the first time and felt calm and relaxed. Or maybe you stepped in and started tapping your feet and moving like you had “ants in your pants.” Why? What happened to you when you crossed the threshold? The simple answer is that the environment happened and you responded. Was it a programmed response? Was a subconscious memory evoked? No one knows for sure, but what we can be sure of is that there is an involuntary bodily response to external conditions.
A popular reference for professionals involved in the planning and design of facilties is Colour, Environment, and Human Response by Frank H. Mahnke (first published by Wiley in 1996). It is a guide to the purposeful use of color that discusses the psychological and physiological effects of color, light, and environmental conditions on humans. Most people are affected by these external factors and, unless you have a mastery of your body’s response to them, a significant part of your emotional state is determined by environmental stimuli.
Home is a sanctuary in which to recharge your batteries and rejuvenate your mind and body. The correct color scheme is an important part of creating a soothing and comfortable environment. Commonly used relaxing colors are the cool shades such as greens and blues. Decorating with different shades of neutral tones or with colors that complement each other will have a much more relaxing effect than decor that consists of bold, contrasting colors such as red and black. What do you feel when you enter a room in your home? Do you feel calm and relaxed, or do you tend to feel more agitated? If you are looking to make your home on invigorating yet soothing environment, what can you do?
Color Your Home for Calmness
When you step into your home, you leave behind the busyness of work and social activities. Neutral tones and any of the colors of Nature are also good choices when creating a place for relaxation and rest. If you are looking for a contemplative feel, cover your walls in soft pastels, shades of purple, blue or green, or soft creamy colors. This is good for creating a calming effect in your favorite retreat.
White can be used to enhance the calming color of your choice. While four white walls and a white ceiling could look too clinical, having plenty of white can highlight a feature wall by providing a gentle contrast.
An environment that is psychologically comfortable will offer the right type of stimulus to enable your soul to rest and heal.
If you are creating a special place in your home for meditation, the same color palette will be conducive. While a particular surrounding environment is not a strict requirement for experienced meditation practitioners, for those who are just starting their journey of mindfulness it could be a positive enhancement. A designated location in your home would also help to discipline your mind toward accepting a dedicated meditation time.
Color Your Home for Stimulation
According to feng shui, red is the color of the fire element, the color of warmth, excitement and passion. Just as your body needs warmth, the same applies to your home. Decorating in red signifies richness and luxury. If used excessively, though, it could bring restlessness, bursts of anger and overstimulation.
Red is also associated with danger, energy, adventure and optimism. It is known as a sociable and lively hue and is used to stimulate the appetite, making this color a perfect choice for dining rooms. Reds have become increasingly popular in the 21st century and can range from fiery and passionate to sophisticated and warm: reds can also overpowering and cause headaches. If you want I have red in your home. it would be a good idea to vary the shade of red on one wall or just use it for accessories.
When it is used as a highlight, it can be very effective. Some areas where red highlights could work are cushion covers, small rugs and parts of design elements of crockery.
Orange, associated with stability, reassurance, warmth, sunset and autumn leaves, can give the feeling of abundance. It can be viewed as a variation of red in home decoration and should be used just as sparingly.
Yellow is another stimulating color, associated with sunshine, energy, creativity and intellectual simulation. While shades of soft creamy butter to deep amber are friendly and inviting, some deeper shades of yellow can intensity feelings of emotional distress.
In general, high saturation levels of warm, stimulating hues like yellow, orange and red are best used as highlights in home decor rather than as the dominant color, advice which is especially true when decorating children’s bedrooms.
Color Your Home for Celebration
All cultures associate certain odors and symbols with celebrations. The perception of color will differ according to the culture a person was born into. In Chinese culture, red is the color of choice tor the most Important festival on the calendar, Chinese New Year, as it symbolizes good luck and celebration.
One of the most prevailing practices for Chinese New Year is the hongbao. Traditionally married adults give red envelopes — hongbao — containing money to the unmarried family members or unmarried visiting well-wishers. In general, gifts of money on auspicious occasions are always placed in these ubiquitous red envelopes, which are also used to make decorations. The envelopes may be folded and joined together to make a lantern, or cut and folded into auspicious shapes and animals, like fish, for decorating plants and trees.
In recent years, the Chinese have introduced more gold into the red New Year decorations. Old Chinese custom dictated that gold or yellow was used mainly in imperial service and for the leaders of highest esteem. Golden shades symbolize wealth, strength and happiness. In days of yore, the traditional layman avoided using ostentatious gold in home decoration, but with the cessation of Chinese royalty and the march toward a capitalistic society, such restrictions are but a memory. Golden decorations and clothes are generously used by all Chinese nowadays.
Color and You
Humans have always needed to be sensitive to their surroundings to survive. We have an innate awareness of our environment and seek out environments with certain qualities. Those qualities include the visible, such as shapes, color and lighting, and the intangible,such as temperature and aroma. An awareness of the impact of color on the human psyche helps us to create beneficial surroundings. The right color palette can turn an ordinary home into a true haven.