I hired myself an online stylist. Let’s be clear – even typing that sentence makes me rush to explain. This was not a service where some high fashion team comes and measures me head to toe and takes me to the upscale malls and swipes my credit card. Rather, this was an online remote service that asks me a short questionnaire, checks out my snapshot and sends me online links for outfits that will (hopefully) make me look better than I do in my husband’s sweatshirt and my old leggings. Mission accomplished – I now get dressed a larger fraction of the time than I used to. The feature item on the list of things that would look good on me was a hot pink trench coat. Whatever possessed the style algorithm to think that this would flatter me I will never know, but I wear it confidently. They pair it with an equally neon pink fluffy winter hat. My usually subdued and background style is left behind and I give it a go.

What I notice right away when I wore this ensemble in public was that I stand out. The bulk of people, at least those who reside in this part of the globe, wear a lot of black and grey, especially when it comes to outerwear. Somehow, hot pink head to toe covering isn’t the norm. But how do I feel when I wear it, despite the looks I inevitably get? HAPPY! I feel happy, cheerful. Better, even. I feel good. Blame it on what you will, but I say it’s the colour.

I bought my 5 year old daughter the cutest brown corduroy overalls the other day and surprised her with them. I assumed that she would just love them and I’m guessing that by the way this is going, you can guess that she didn’t. She didn’t throw a tantrum. She didn’t throw them on the floor. She simply set them down calmly, walked over to the window, sat down and stared outside in silence for a good twenty minutes. I gave her some space. When she came to, she explained to me that although they were nice overalls, I could return them to wherever they came from. The only colour of overalls she would accept would be ones that were of the yellow persuasion. Only yellow. Just yellow. It’s the colour. Call it entitlement, call it being a brat, but I say she just knew what she needed to feel her best.

She convinced me yellow is best.

So how can we use colour in our lives to benefit our emotions? We look at how different colours can evoke different emotions and encourage us to feel certain ways. With our kids, being aware that when paint their rooms bright red, it will encourage a different emotional range than if we were to paint their rooms grey, light blue, or dark green. What general feel are we putting into the various aspects of the environments we create for them (or the clothes we buy for them)? Check out the colour chart at the end of this post, brought to us by the Art Therapy blog. It gives common responses elicited by different colours. Being mindful of these as we bring (or don’t bring) colour into our lives can give us advantage as we try to encourage specific emotional states from our children.

Here are some quick ideas to use more colour in our kids’ lives:

  • Bring out a new colouring book that is full of designs to colour (not specific pictures) and some crayons and see what colours your child chooses. Ask him why he chose that colour and talk about how it might relate to how he is feeling. Don’t push it – use his cues to go as deep into the conversation as he wants to. If he wants to just colour quietly, leave it there.
  • Pay attention to what clothing is in your child’s closet. Is it all one colour? Did she choose it to be that way or did you? Open up the options for your chid to choose the colours of clothing in her closet, even if it means taking a $20 bill to the local thrift store for a few new items. Let her choose. When the time is right, talk about what colours she seems particularly drawn to.
  • Print out the chart from the link below and when the kids are in the right mood (you’ll know!) bring it out and talk about it. Ask them if they agree with the colours and their labels. (It’s ok if they don’t agree.) Ask them if they’ve ever felt “red” when angry, for example. Open up the conversation. But…
  • Don’t over-talk it. Instead, demonstrate it. Start small (we don’t need to break the bank) and build slowly. Introduce colour in ways that you hadn’t before. Write a note on a bright blue piece of paper and leave it in your child’s school lunch bag. Start wearing more of the colours in your closet that make you feel good and lets the kids see that in you. Get a hanging chalkboard and put it up in your kitchen or living room and write colourful notes and drawings that you switch out. Try different colours and observe the kids’ responses, or lack of responses.

If you want to learn (much) more about colours and their effects on our emotions, check out this great article: https://instapage.com/blog/ultimate-guide-to-color-psychology

Finally, check out the below link to a great chart that depicts the colours and the emotions they tend to depict.

Color Meanings & Symbolism Charts

Colour on!

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