Use color to assess your mental and emotional wellbeing

Color is all around – in our clothes, homes, nature, food and even in our speech. How often do we hear people say, “I am feeling blue today” or “I am green with envy”?

Just like music or fragrances, color evokes or triggers certain memories and feelings - good and bad - associated with people, places and events of our childhood or past. However, people are often not aware of why they suddenly feel happy or sad when they hear a certain song, get the smell of vanilla or enter a room with walls painted yellow.

As a universal and subconscious language, color can help us look at ourselves, our lives, our talents and challenges, and the world at large in a different light. And when you learn to speak the language of color and examine your physical, emotional and mental responses to different colours, you can use it to assess your mental and emotional health.

At various stages in our lives, we are attracted to different colors. Your favourite color at a certain point can tell you a lot about emotions and thoughts that you are trying to work through or access. At the same time, the color that you reject is indicative of feelings or thought patterns that you are suppressing or ignoring.

To assess your emotional and mental health on a daily basis, pay attention to your reactions to different colors whether by the colors that you choose to wear or your food choices. This is a simple and easy way to connect with yourself on a deeper level.

Following is a quick guide to help you assess your emotional and mental health using color preferences:


Depression often goes hand in hand with a feeling that your life has no purpose; that you are just floating directionless into more nothingness. On a mental level, you think that you have no control over what happens to you; that you are a victim of circumstance. The positive side of red is feeling motivated, passionate and purposeful. You know that you are on this earth and in this body for a reason. And it doesn’t have to be a big reason like saving the world. It could be as simple as getting to know yourself better or living in the moment and enjoying the ride. Red reminds us to trust the process of life and turn impatience and frustration into courage and passion. On a physical level, it also reminds us to look after our bodies – regular exercise and eating healthily.


Orange is all about choosing your battles. It is about knowing which emotions you can just let go and which ones you need to attend to and sort out. It is also about NOT taking on other people’s moods and “stuff”. Remember, you are only responsible for how you feel. It is also important to nurture yourself and give yourself what you need. To keep your emotions balanced do something creative: Get a hobby like mosaic, pottery, gardening and cooking. These are all wonderful ways to get rid of old, unnecessary emotions. Also drink lots of water to flush out stagnated energies or feelings.


Yellow is about analysing our belief systems and perceptions. Are you stuck on old ideas and thought patterns? Is it time to challenge the way you think about yourself and your life? Have you tried to fit in with what society or what your family expects of you? These types of pressures could lead much mental confusion, and feelings of guilt and shame, and ultimately mental or emotional illness. Yellow reminds us to examine why we believe certain things and whether these beliefs are our own or those imposed on us by other people. Yellow is about individuality and happiness. Don’t take life too seriously, learn new things and eat more ice-cream!


Green is the colour of self-love; of accepting ourselves just the way we are. It is also about forgiveness. In order to move forward and for our lives to take a different and new direction, we have to let go of past hurts. If we don’t do that, resentment and bitterness become part of our make-up. Green is also about healthy boundaries by learning to say no when something or someone is not right or good for us. Breathe deeply and walk in nature when you feel overwhelmed and anxious. Know that you are exactly where you are supposed to be and stop comparing yourself to others. Remind yourself that you are deserving of the good and beautiful things in live. And express gratitude!


Blue teaches us to learn when to speak up and when to listen. Talking to someone who is willing to listen without judgment is essential for healing mental and emotional illnesses. When we keep things bottled up they get stuck in our bodies and could cause serious physical illness or disease. Instead of withdrawing from the world, participate by sharing your thoughts and ideas. Also watch how you talk to yourself! If it is really hard for you to express yourself verbally try writing or painting. Also consider joining a support group to connect with like-minded individuals who share similar experiences and traumas. Or speak to a psychologist or counsellor.


Indigo is about doing introspection, going deeper and finding what it is that makes you tick. It is also about criticism and perceptions. Sometimes we deliberately isolate ourselves because we are not willing to listen to other’s opinions and ideas in order to challenge our own perceptions and grow. We become judgmental and critical and over-analyse everything. Indigo teaches us to trust our instincts. Meditation or stargazing helps us to connect with our most intimate thoughts, desires and true selves.


Violet reminds us that we are part of something bigger; that we are all connected in some way and that we have something to contribute. It teaches us to live in the moment. Yesterday is gone, we have no control of tomorrow, we only have today. Suppressed grief results in isolation and negativity. When we work through our sadness we accept it as a part of the natural cycle of life. And if we come out whole on the other side we have transformed our lives. Remember, we always have choice. Voluntary work is an excellent way of giving back, finding peace and contentment and reminding us that we can make a difference.


About Lien Potgieter

Lien Potgieter is a writer, and colour teacher and therapist based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Lien studied language practice, colour therapy, metaphysics, transpersonal psychology and Reiki. She uses color to assess physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health, and teaches an online Speak Colour in Just 7 days course. Lien also assists people to restore harmony to their homes with colour. Visit her colourful website at

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Comment by Renee Richards on April 8, 2015 at 8:49pm

Comment by Lien Potgieter on March 26, 2015 at 12:47am

Hi Shelly, that is awesome news. Thank you for the comments! May your day be colorful. 

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