Changing Your Mood Might Be As Easy As Changing Your Shirt

A guest post from Dr. Karen Finn:

One of the most curious things that happened when I was going through my divorce was that I started to wear black almost all the time.  What was so curious about it was that I had always loved color, but for some reason I didn’t understand then, I was drawn to wearing all black for quite a while.  It was really different for me and many of my friends commented on my new wardrobe choices.

At the time, I didn’t think too much about it.  And after about 6 months, I started to wear more colorful clothing again.

A few years ago, while doing research about emotions and ways that environment affects our moods, I found there is a wealth of research on how colors affect our moods and vice versa.  I was really surprised by what I learned because it explained why I had been drawn to different colors while I was going through the worst of my divorce.

Here are some of the things I’d like to share with you about color and how it can affect or reflect feelings:

Black Many of us associate the color black with mourning and that was my first guess as to why I was drawn to it during the worst of my divorce.  Well, according to color therapy theory, black is also the color that gives us space for reflection and inner searching.  I have to tell you that I was doing a whole lot of thinking and trying to figure things out while going through my divorce and so this makes a lot of sense to me.
Blue Blue is the color of a beautiful Caribbean sea and the color of a sunny sky.  Like a sunny day spent lazing on the beach, blue is the color of relaxation.  Color theorists say that blue also promotes relaxation and healing.
Red Red is a VERY energizing color.  You probably remember from watching cartoons when you were a kid that when characters were angry their eyes became red.  You’ve probably also heard the phrase “seeing red” to indicate that someone is angry.  Red intensifies emotions, especially anger.
Yellow Yellow is an interesting color from a color theory point of view.  It is said to stimulate mental activity, promote feelings of self-confidence and increase alertness.  Who wouldn’t want a healthy dose of those feelings?
White White light contains all the colors.  If you need clarity in your thoughts, white may just be the color you need to see more of.

So does this color theory work?  Many believe it does.  I know that I enjoy being surrounded by colors and that some days I prefer one color over another.  I know that when I feel confident and calm, I do tend to wear blue.  When I’m feeling vibrant, I tend to choose red.  And when I need things to be more organized and clean, I tend to choose white.

What color are you wearing today?  Is it a reflection of your mood or thoughts?  Is it just the first clean thing you grabbed to put on?  Or is it your signature color?  You just might be surprised about what the color of your shirt says about how you’re feeling and thinking.

Your Functional Divorce Assignment:

Determine if color therapy could be useful in your life.  This week, have some fun noting the colors you wear each day and how you feel.  At the end of the week, compare your color/mood combinations to the list above and see if your moods matched the colors.

If you find a correlation between the colors you wore and your moods, experiment with adding more of the colors you were wearing when you felt good.  Adding pops of the colors that help you to feel good into your home and office could help you to get back to and maintain a good feeling.

If you don’t find a correlation between the colors you wore and your moods, don’t worry, it just means that you’re probably not especially sensitive to colors right now.

Guest post from one of our favorite divorce coaches- Karen Finn, Ph.D.

About Karen

Karen Finn, Ph.D. is a divorce coach and the owner of The Functional Divorce (www.functionaldivorce.com) in Keller, Texas. She specializes in working with divorcing or recently divorced individuals who want to successfully navigate the confusion and uncertainty that usually comes with divorce. Karen helps her clients manage and work through the five facets of divorce to reduce their stress, find happiness again and rediscover the best of themselves.