Do Colors Make You Mad?

by Olatunde Howard, MA, LMFT

For real. Like, when you go into an office, room, or place, do you leave feeling…agitated? But can’t quite put your finger on why? Then later you think, “It was the vibe of the place. That’s what it was!” And after you think about what the vibe was, it dawns on you.

Red!

The place had a lot of red, and that made you mad!

But really. Do colors make you mad, or sad, or glad, or afraid?

There seems to be some credence to pigmentations affecting emotions. Especially in the animal kingdom. Certain colors, like red, communicate danger, or poison, or venom. (Which is why Darth Maul in Star Wars, and characters like him are often depicted as being bright red and black. Those color combinations seem to depict malice.) So in nature, certain colors can be a warning of danger.

Yet the same colors can also do the opposite. Really red strawberries, or watermelons, communicate an inviting ripeness. And reddened skin, or blushing, can communicate arousal (or fear…or anger…depending on the context.)

Keyword: Context.

Perhaps color in context is the key, internally and externally. By internally, I mean your interpretation of colors given your context, your past, your experiences. By externally, I mean the vibe of the people in the red office, combined with your vibe.

Either way, awareness of the impact of colors (or any other component of the environment) can be mentally and emotionally helpful. It can help you use colors to create emotions in yourself and others. You may find that you can arouse or provoke others with your colors, and that you can yield to or resist vibes where you go.

Olatunde Howard, MA, LMFT

Olatunde is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate. Read Full Bio

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