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Why wearing colours makes you feel good

Have you ever wondered why a particular colour can help lift your mood or change the way you are feeling?

And why do children prefer bright hues to muted tones or get fixated on particular favourite colours?

At Stylish Kid, we love playing with different colours and our collections are designed to be bold, bright and adventurous. The reason we choose rainbow colours for our clothing isn’t just that they look great but they make the person wearing them feel happier as well.

Parenting consultant Kirsty Ketley, better known as Auntie K, says one of the reasons little children love bright colours is that they help the, distinguish different objects from each other.

She says: “Newborns can only focus on something that is directly in front of them and they only see the colours black, white and grey. As their eyesight develops at around five months, they begin to see colour.

“Babies see the primary colours, red, blue and yellow, first which stimulate their brain. These colours stand out more and they help them to recognise objects and distinguish between them which makes objects and toys much more interesting and helps to promote their learning.”

Psychologist Lee Chambers says: “Colour is one of the first methods we use as babies to notice the separation between objects in our environments. We are stimulated and attracted to these vibrant colours, as they are easier to see.

“Because of this, we spend more time looking at them and notice them more. This is a cyclical development, as things such as toys, food and entertainment are often designed with this in mind, ensuring that children's environments are filled with bold, bright colours.”

 

Yellows and oranges can boost our energy levels 

Lee, who is the director of Wellbeing Lancashire, says: “When it comes to colours and positive emotions, we naturally think of the sunny yellows and the zesty oranges, warm colours that feel like a bright summer’s day. These colours do give us energising alertness, which can really brighten up our day.

“Simultaneously, cooler colours such as blues and greens can also be positive, helping us feel grounded, confident, and calm. Our colour preferences also play a part in how we interact with the colour in our environments, so there are many things to consider when choosing a colour for your child to wear.

“We have enclothed cognition, which means we can start to embody the colour we are wearing.”

Enclothed cognition is a term first coined in 2012 to describe the effect clothes can have on the way someone thinks, feels and functions. So while picking clothes to wear yourself or dress your child in can seem like a trivial choice, it can have a wider impact on mood and behaviour.

 

Colour sends powerful signals to our brains 

Dr Raheel Karim, a mental health expert from Pall Mall Medical, says colours send powerful messages to our brain.

He says: “When we see colour, the millions of tiny nerve endings in the retina relay this message to the brain. Different colours will stimulate the mind in different ways to affect our behaviour and our mood. 

“Vibrant colours like reds, yellows, oranges, and fuschia pinks embody warmth, happiness, and creativity. These colours trigger a hormonal response as the brain releases dopamine, the feel-good hormone.

“This dopamine release is why bright colours boost our mood and self-esteem, making us feel happier, more confident, even improving our attention span.” 

The consultant psychiatrist adds: “When we wear or surround ourselves with bright colours, we start to subconsciously experience the emotions and qualities associated with them. You may find that you have more energy and feel more confident when wearing warmer colours like red and fuschia, whereas cooler hues like blue and green will stimulate oxytocin production to promote feelings of calm, safety, and peace.”

Mum-of-four Inbaal Honigman, from Holmfirth, describes herself as a psychic witch and firmly believes different colours have meanings.

According to Inbaal, yellow stands for happiness, while red means courage. Blue is for communication, purple for higher purpose, green for healing and pink for the heart.

She says: “This is echoed in many cultures. Children are still so in touch with their emotions and dress accordingly.

“Teens are confused by their overpowering emotions and that's the time they wear black. And as adults we might go back to browns (grounding) and other neutrals, but don't tend to display our emotions as much which is why we often don’t wear bright colours.”

But she says adults should embrace their emotions and go for bright coloured clothing more often, adding: “People always respond so well when they see a grown up wearing colours.”