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‘How I used colour therapy to brighten my days of self-isolation’

Feeling that iso bleakness? Writer Shone Hendley suggests it’s time to try a splash of colour around you.

Colour has been used to represent different meanings for thousands of years, in various cultures throughout the world. In today’s Western world colour can be used from the clothing we choose to dress our children in, or even wear ourselves. It can be used to symbolise anything from gender, values to a mood.

Back in the ‘good old days’ i.e. before COVID-19 and self-isolation, I would wear bright colours, various shades of statement jewellery and on occasion a bold red lip as I went to work and on the weekend when I went out to socialise (ah socialise).

But interestingly as the weeks went by in the confines of home, I found myself wearing a lot of darker colours – black and grey shades (aka active wear or PJs), no jewellery, no makeup, it was dark, bland and about the opposite of vibrant as you could get.

Even the décor within my home started to reflect this same feeling.

My doona cover was a dark grey, my framed photos and prints were black and white, my throws were black and grey, basically it was like the Wizard of Oz before Dorothy arrived in Munchkin Land where the world filled with colour; and it was very clear that my mood and emotional state had become reflective of that too.

But what I thought was an interesting (and insightful) observation, was actually more than that. In fact, there is a whole science behind it – colour healing or colour psychology and it can be used as a form of healing, psychology and a way to improve a person’s mental health. Something that I thought might also be a way to bring me to a brighter world while I am working from home, just like Dorothy (without the tornado, Wicked Witch or flying monkeys that is).

Corrine Brown, Founder of the Institute of Holistic Therapies, Australia and colour therapist says that understanding the science behind colour and colour psychology is vital in understanding how colours can have such a significant impact.

“In scientific terms, light is a type of electromagnetic radiation. It is naturally derived from the sun and comes in varying wavelengths and frequencies that are received by the cones (photoreceptors) within the retina of our eyes. The retina translates the wavelengths and frequencies into colours and then sends them to our brain. Colours travel in a series of waves. The distance between two waves of a colour (or any other type of energy) is called a wavelength and is measured in meters or nanometres.

Colour is light made visible. When we are ill or unhappy, our body gives out a distorted, disturbed pattern of vibrations. When the cells of any part of our body vibrate at the wrong frequency our organs are affected, and this in turn is manifested in illness,” Brown told body+soul.

The practice of Colour Therapy involves the use of these energy vibrations of colour in diagnosis, healing and balancing the natural rhythms of the body to restore balance. Something I was much in need of.

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But what colour does what?

“Each colour has a unique therapeutic value, and each can be used to treat a particular physical or emotional problem,” Brown said.

Some colours are related to specific physical conditions or parts of the body, while others are more beneficial for the mind, stress reduction and finding balance.

Given my mood and emotional state were feeling the brunt of staying at home, this is what I decided to focus my Colour Therapy on.

Brown outlined the flowing colours as having direct impact on these areas.

Green

Improves circulation and promotes general healing, restoration and balance.

Magenta

Balances emotions and energy.

Yellow

Improves immune system and stimulates the nerves.

Purple

Balances the heart and blood pressure.

How do I use colours as therapy at home?

The beauty of Colour Therapy is that you can absorb colourful light frequencies at home with items you already have.

Brown identifies 3 main ways

Digestion: The primary way to get energy into our bodies is by digesting. Brown suggests adding “colours to your meals by colour eating and colour drinking.”

Skin: “Our biggest organ, and being semi-permeable we take in energy frequencies through our skin so be aware of the colours you wear, be near or being surrounded by,” says Brown.

Eyes: “We take in health-giving (or not) energy frequencies through our eyes.”

You can apply colours in each of the three main areas in a variety of ways, including:

  • Colour eating and drinking (through ingestion/digestion)
  • Wearing colours (through skin & eyes)
  • Chromotherapy/light therapy – coloured lamps (through skin & eyes)
  • Natural elements – crystals, flowers, trees, sky etc (through skin & eyes)
  • Drawing (through skin & eyes)
  • Candles (through skin & eyes)
  • Décor (through skin & eyes)

How I used colour to improve my ISO mood

I began with food because a) I like to eat and b) ISO seems to mean eating more. So, for me, this meant more green fruit and vegetables – broccoli, asparagus, Brussel Sprouts (yep) and green tea.

I also incorporated some lemon juice in my water, I upped the intake of blackberries, blueberries and added some passion fruit, ginger and turmeric tea, bananas, mango and corn to my diet.

I revised my home decor as much as possible. I started by removing the grey doona cover and replaced it with one that featured yellow. I changed some of my photos around the home with brighter images and I opened up the blinds more so the natural scenery of outdoors (green trees and sky) could be more visible.

I also started to ditch the active wear (or in my case non-active wear) and dress in at least semi casual work attire with some green, magenta and yellow and if I had no items of clothing in that colour I would try and paint my nails or wear some jewellery in those shades.

While my colour therapy is a work in progress, I did notice a shift from the world of 50 shades of grey into one more reminiscent of technicolour and while I wasn’t quite ready to break into song as Dorothy it was definitely much brighter.

More essential coronavirus reading:

Read up on what the government lockdown means for you, understand why Aussie doctors are up arms, be aware of the ‘hidden symptom’ of COVID-19 carriers, prepare yourself for the long-term mental health effects of the pandemic, get your sweat on at home with these free online workouts before reviving your over-washed hands with this DIY balm, and then console yourself with these unexpected joys.