The Psychiatric and Holistic Meaning of Colours


Red is a powerful colour that has been associated with vitality and ambition. It can help overcome negative thoughts. However, it is also associated with anger; if we have too much red in our system, or around us, we may feel irritable, and impatient, and uncomfortable.


Is emotionally soothing and calming, and gives the feeling of gentle warmth and nurturing. It lessons feelings of irritation and aggression, surrounding us with the a sense of love and protection. It also alleviates loneliness, despondency, over sensitivity. While red relates more to sexuality, pink is associated with unselfish love.


Orange is a joyous colour. It frees and releases emotion and alleviates feelings of self-pity, lack of self worth, and unwillingness to forgive. Stimulates the mind, renewing interest in life; it is a wonderful antidepressant and lifts the spirits. Apricot/ Peach is good for nervous exhaustion.


Yellow is also a happy, bright, and uplifting colour, a celebration of sunny days. It associated with the intellectual side of the mind, and the expression of thoughts. It therefore aids the powers of discernment and discrimination, memory and clear thinking, decision-making and good judgement. It also helps good organization, assimilation of new ideas, and the ability to see different points of view. It builds self-confidence and encourages an optimistic attitude. Conversely, dull yellow can be the colour of fear.


Green has a strong affinity with nature helping us connect with empathy to others and the natural world. We instinctively seek it out when under stress or experiencing emotional trauma. It creates a feeling of comfort, laziness and relaxation, calmness, and space, lessening stress, balancing and soothing the emotions. Dark green represents the onset of death and is nondescript, unassertive, a negation of life and joy. Lime and olive green can have a detrimental effect on both physical and emotional health sense sickly yellow and green are associated with the emotions of envy, resentment, and possessiveness.


We associate blue green with the refreshing and cool ocean. It is therefore invigorating, cooling and calming. Like green turquoise is good for mental strain and tiredness or feeling washed out. It is an elevating colour that encourages us to make a sparkling fresh start. Turquoise is also helpful for feelings of loneliness, sense it heightens communication, sensitivity, and creativity.


Blue is a cool, calming colour and is associated with a higher part of the mind than yellow. It represents the night, so it make us feel calm and relaxed as if we were being soothed by the deep blue of the night sky. Light and soft blue, make us feel quiet and protected from all the bustle and activity of the day, and alleviate insomnia. Blue inspires mental control, clarity, and creativity. Midnight blue has a strong sedative effect on the mind, allowing us to connect to our intuitive and feminine side. Too much dark blue can be depressing, however.

Indigo, Violet, and Purple

These have a deep affect on the psyche and have been used in psychiatric care to help calm and pacify patients suffering from a number of mental and nervous disorders. These colours balance the mind and help transform obsessions and fears. Indigo is a powerful, physic colour, associated with the ride of the brain, and stimulates intuition and imagination. It is also a strong sedative. Violet and purple are colours of transformation at a very deep level, bringing peace and combating shock or fear. They have a cleansing effect in emotional disturbances. They are also connected with artistic and musical impulses, mystery, and sensitivity to beauty and high ideals, stimulating creativity, inspiration, sensitivity, spirituality and compassion. Violet can exert strong psychic influences, however, and a person attracted by it has to guard against living in a fantasy world. Purple is associated with psychic protection.


When we are feeling despondent and worried about our condition, or feeling angry and frustrated, magenta draws us out of this attitude and lets our spirits soar. It is a spiritual colour but also with practical overtones, associated with compassion, support and kindness. From a negative prospective, magenta, like violet, make us desire to be lifted out of the demanding world and avoid challenges. It can also be too relaxing. So avoid magenta if you are chronically depressed or introverted.


The colour of ultimate purity is white. It is an all-round colour of protection, bringing peace and comfort, alleviating emotional shock and despair, and helping inner cleansing of emotion, thoughts, and spirit. If you need time and space to reflect on your life, white can give you a feeling of freedom and uncluttered openness. Too much white, however, can be cold and isolating because white separates us from other people.


This colour is both comforting, protective, and mysterious. it is associated with silence, the infinite, and the feminine life force-passive, unchartered, and mysterious. Black can also prevent us from growing and changing. We often cloak ourselves in black to hide from the world.


Associated with independence, self-reliance, self-control, grey acts as a shield from outside influence. However, grey generally has a negative feeling ie; thick grey clouds, fog, and smoke.

Grey is the colour of evasion and non-commitment since it is neither black or white. It relates to walling everything off, remaining separate, uncommitted, and uninvolved, inevitably leading to loneliness. It also denotes self-criticism.


Silver is the colour of the moon, which is ever changing. It relates to the feminine principle and the emotional, sensitive aspect of the mind. It balances, harmonizes, and is mentally cleansing.


Like yellow, gold is associated with the sun and is therefore related to abundance and power, higher ideals, wisdom, and understanding. It is mentally revitalizing, energizing and inspiring, and helpful for fear, uncertainty, and lack of interest. Pale gold is excellent for depression and sharpens the mind.


The colour of Mother Earth, brown brings a sense of stability, alleviating insecurity. However it also relates to bottling up of emotion, a retreat from and a fear of the outside world, and also narrow-mindedness. This often results from a lack of self-worth.