The Healing Wardrobe: Five Tips for Using Color to Lift Your Spirit
For better or worse, color influences our emotions, and the way each person perceives color is subjective. Pastels that are soothing for one person’s spirit may be dreary for another. Bright colors that lift one person’s mood can be overwhelming or garish to someone else.
The colors you wear not only affect your mood, but also communicates something about your personality. The effect of color in our lives can be mystical, psychological and even functional. During meditation, feelings of well-being are enhanced by visualizing a color that has specific meaning to the person. Deep breathing exercises that use a sense of color directed at different areas of the body to help patients better manage the stress related to their illness.
Many women today are faced with a more complex decision in how to use color. Each year, thousands of women have chemo hair loss or alopecia from other medical treatments.
With the other side effects of chemo, the stress of a chronic illness or alopecia, we need all the cheering up we can get. Our hair is such a significant part of our self-image that sudden, complete hair loss often has a deep impact on our identity and confidence.
But we can face this change by using our favorite colors to our advantage with flattering head wear of a scarf, turban or head wrap that have endless styling possibilities.
You don’t have to buy a new wardrobe. An accessory, especially one worn near your face, can change the whole mood of your appearance. Is that gray sweater depressing? It can be a beautiful subtle background for a head wrap of fuchsia, purple, white, turquoise and/or black. A great pair of earrings or a colorful necklace can change the whole mood of your appearance.
Here are five tips for selecting your best colors:
1. Grab a pad and pen to make a list. Go through your closet and list at least three colors that look great on you. If you’re not sure, hold it near your face in front of the mirror.
2. Add to the list any colors that get you compliments (even if you don’t own them).
3. List one color you purposely avoid wearing (you may or may own that color).
4. Write down one emotion you connect with each color, whether positive or negative. For example: red (exciting or irritating?); blue (healing or boring?); black (sophisticated or gloomy?).
5. If you don’t own at least three colors that make you feel joyful, you will know which colors you need to add to your wardrobe—and the positive feeling each one gives you.
By consciously making this list, not only will you be drawn to your healing colors, but you will “anchor” that good feeling. Every time you wear these colors, it will reinforce the memory of the positive emotion.
With or without hair, the right colors can be a proud statement of your colorful spirit.