If you're feeling down this winter, add a splash of color to your surroundings. The winter blues may fade away.

Soak Up Color

Color affects us, maybe more than we think. As the days get shorter and the colors of nature hibernate for the winter, many people suffer from winter blues. It’s more than just a phrase: The lack of sunlight can affect people to such an extent that they become depressed, referred to as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD syndrome.

To avoid or cure the winter blues, color specialist Leatrice Eiseman recommends finding a sunlit area, if possible, or creating the appearance of yellowed light, such as by painting a wall yellow. “I also suggest surrounding yourself with colorful objects, such as artwork on the wall, a vase of flowers or a mug,” Eiseman says. “Wearing a bright piece of clothing also helps.”

Color’s influence goes beyond the winter blues. Red stimulates a faster heartbeat and breathing rate, and even increases the appetite. Green is a calming, refreshing color. Now you know  why people waiting to go on stage sit in “green rooms” to relax. Brown promotes a sense of security and relaxation, and reduces fatigue. Dark colors lower stress and increase feelings of peacefulness, while bright colors spark energy and creativity.

“There is the irresistible influence of color that tugs at you and appeals to your emotions—often on a very visceral or subliminal level,” Eiseman says. So if you’re feeling down this winter, add a splash of color to your surroundings. The winter blues may fade away.