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4 Ways Color and Light Influence your Mind and Emotions

4 Ways Color and Light Influence your Mind and Emotions

The spectrum of color and light is a vast kaleidoscope, a pallet with which your brain works to paint a picture. What does your painting look like? Adjusting the colors you wear, the colors you surround yourself with, and the lighting around you will help you adjust your emotions. This is a matter of understanding not just the generalizations and applications generated by scientific research, but your own associations as well.

Adjusting the colors you wear, the colors you surround yourself with, and the lighting around you will help you adjust your emotions. This is a matter of understanding not just the generalizations and applications generated by scientific research, but your own associations as well.

1. Color temperature

640px-planckian-locus

    In layman’s terms, color temperature is the intensity and brightness of light. As the term color temperature suggests, the level of brightness has a direct bearing on color. You can view an interactive example of color temperature’s effect on a room at the Lightbulbs website. Note how the different levels of light change the hue of the room.

    The 6500K setting renders the room bluer and is closest to the sun’s intensity at high noon. The lower the color temperature, the warmer and more golden the light, the warmer the color of the room.

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    Light at a higher color temperature promotes a higher level of alertness, while lower, redder light has a calming effect. Simply the way you light a room can help determine your level of energy.

    2. Blue light and sleep

    blue_light_by_artful_krayons

      Bluer light, which has a higher color temperature, is closer to midday sunlight and has an alerting property. Research from PLOS Biology explains how this type of light interacts with the brain. Blue light interacts with a photopigment called melanopsin. Melanopsin is especially sensitive to blue light, and together with the rods and cones in our eyes, it signals the brain to be vigilant. Green light has the opposite effect—it promotes sleep. According to the researchers, “All studies converge to show that blue-enriched light is more efficient in increasing performance and decreasing sleepiness.”

      Your cell phone and your computer screen emit a great deal of blue light. Have you looked into how a lack of sleep affects your mood? If you’re getting too much blue light throughout the day, particularly near bedtime, your sleep may be suffering. In turn, you’re crankier, more depressed, overly emotional.

      The good news is you now know that green light helps with sleep. Working on a computer all day? A program such as F.lux adjusts your screen’s color temperature so you’re not constantly inundated with blue light.

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      3. Color and light

      sunset-476465_640

        I’ve been discussing the color temperature of light and its effect on the brain. Light also determines how we see color. When light hits an object, such as a banana, the banana absorbs some of the light and reflects the rest. When you look at a banana and see yellow, it’s because the banana is reflecting back light that fits within a certain wavelength. That wavelength corresponds to the color yellow.

        bananas-1119790_640

          In turn, your brain has a certain association with the color yellow. The association our brains have with colors, and the resulting emotions and impulses, are very important. For one, they influence something as simple as choosing a tablecloth.

          Occitan Imports has an interesting point to make here. In the blog post, A Simple Question of Color, they chronicle how a customer asked if a red tablecloth was more on the ‘blue side’, or the ‘orange side’, of red. The answer to the question would determine the purchase. Occitan points out that, “The color of an object is heavily influenced by the nature of the light that is hitting it.” This is because, as you saw earlier, the color temperature of light interacts with the hue of objects.

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          Try changing the color temperature of the light in your room to see how it affects your mood. To treat Seasonal Affective Disorder and other common mood disorders, counselors often recommend light therapy. Light therapy alters color temperature to simulate sunlight, which really brings out the full color of things.

          4. Color and the emotions

          emotion

            How, exactly, color alters emotions is still being studied. A study of college students found that they had the most positive emotional responses to the principle colors: red, yellow, green, blue, and violet.

            Red is associated with excitement, passion, and warmth. Green is calm, refreshing, balanced. Yellow is stimulating, optimistic, confident, friendly. Blue is intellectual, logical, trustworthy. Violet is luxurious, authentic, spiritually aware.

            These are the positive associations, but the study also found cultural and personal experience creates positive or negative associations. There are negative emotional analogues to colors. Yellow is oftentimes associated with fear, red with rage, green with boredom, violet with feelings of inferiority, and blue with coldness and unfriendliness.

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            Black can be associated with emotional security and safety, but it also can suggest menace and emotional coldness. Brown can be reliable, supportive, serious, but it can also be humorless. Pink can be tranquil, warm, and loving, but too much can be emotionally claustrophobic. Orange can be fun, vibrant and active, but can also be frustratingly frivolous and immature. Gray is neutral at best. White is clear and pure, but can be unfriendly, expressionless, sterile.

            To evoke certain emotions with colors, to alter mood, pay attention to the emotions colors cause in you. If you’re feeling dull and trapped, try red. If you’re feeling anxious, try green. If it seems like you make people feel uncertain, try blue. Work with the lighting and the colors in your workspace and your home until you find a balance that feels right to you.

            Work with the lighting and the colors in your workspace and your home until you find a balance that feels right to you.

            More by this author

            Dan Matthews, CPRP

            A Certified Psychosocial Rehabilitation Practitioner with an extensive background working with clients on community-based rehabilitation.

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            Last Updated on July 11, 2019

            10 Best Brain Power Supplements That Will Supercharge Your Mind

            10 Best Brain Power Supplements That Will Supercharge Your Mind

            If you have watched movies like Limitless[1] (both the movie and television series) and Lucy,[2] then you have likely come across smart drugs or nootropics. In the movie Limitless, you are introduced to NZT-48 (known as MDT-48 in the book The Dark Fields), which grants heightened intellectual abilities allowing one to pattern-match at lighting speed.

            In the movie Lucy, you are introduced to the drug CPH4, which is actually based on a molecule that a pregnant woman produces after six weeks of pregnancy. The director of Lucy, Luc Besson, remarked,[3]

            “But it’s totally real, and it’s true that the power of this product for a baby is the power of an atomic bomb. It’s real. It’s totally real. So its not a drug in fact, it’s a natural molecule that pregnant women produce.”

            NZT-48 is fictional and CPH4 is a fictional drug based on a real substance. So, are there any real life smart drugs or brain boosters similar to either fictional drug? The answer is no. But powerful cognitive enhancing drugs do exist. And they are Nootropics.

            Nootropics

            Nootropics was coined by Romanian psychologist Corneliu E. Giurgea in 1972. The etymology of the word is nous or mind and trepein or to bend.[4] According to Smart Drug Smarts, nootropics is an umbrella term for a class of chemicals, some naturally-occurring and some man-made, that give cognitive benefits to the human brain. To be a nootropic, Giurgea found that the substance must meet five specific criteria:[5]

            1. Enhance memory and ability to learn.
            2. Help the brain function under disruptive conditions.
            3. Protect the brain from chemical and physical assaults.
            4. Increase the efficacy of neuronal firing control mechanisms.
            5. Possess few or no side effects and be virtually non-toxic.

            Let’s now examine the 10 best brain power supplements that will supercharge your mind and 4 bonus tips (in no particular order – meaning #1 is not better than #2 nor #10). Very few of the brain boosters listed can be purchased in a local brick and mortar store.

            For most, you will have to place an order online. However, be extremely cautious and diligently research each prior to ordering.

            For a more detailed breakdown of each brain booster in the form of a wiki, I recommend visiting the website BrainTropic[6]. I will provide a summary for each smart drug below. Summaries will be from BrainTropic unless otherwise stated. In addition, visit my website (you can find the link in my bio) as I regularly write and provide advice on nootropics.

            *Some of the supplements listed require a prescription and could be harmful. Consult with your doctor before consumption.

            1. Qualia Mind

            Qualia Mind is an extremely powerful smart drug created by Neurohacker packed with a variety of nootropics. It is a multi-nootropic leading to potential neurochemical and physiological enhancements.

            Qualia Mind is specifically designed to lift brain fog, amplify willpower, upgrade energy, heighten creativity, and promote mental clarity. No prescription is required.

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            Side effects: headaches, sleep disturbance, muscle tightness, and upset stomach.

            Summary
            • Type: Multi-Nootropic (crucial ingredients include: Acetyl-L-Carnitine, DL-Phenylalanine, N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, Taurine, L-Theanine, Alpha GPC, Citicoline, Anhydrous Caffeine, Huperzine A, and more)
            • Good for: Energy, Focus, Learning, Memory, Motivation, and Physical Performance
            • Typical Dose: 7 capsules per day (maximum of 12)
            • Half-life: 4-6 hours

            You can learn more about Qualia Mind in Neurohacker.

            2. Modafinil

            Modafinil is a stimulant to treat narcolepsy and has been shown to enhance our cognitive functions. Sold under the names Vigil, Nuvigil or Provigil, has became one of the most popular cognitive enhancing drugs on the market.

            Bio-hacker and founder of Bulletproof Coffee, Dave Asprey, is just one of many advocating the drug. Some think Modafinil inspired the movie Limitless. For more on this discussion, read I Spent a Week on Nuvigil, the Drug From ‘Limitless’ and Modafinil: My Experience with the Real Life Limitless Pill by Joen Rude Falsner. Falsner remarked about Modafinil, it’s “Sort of like a real life pop-up blocker…”

            In the US, Modafinil is classified as Schedule IV Controlled Substance and a prescription is required for it. Potential side effects: headache, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, nervousness, and trouble sleeping.

            Bonus Tip: Top Modafinil researchers have found that Modafinil combined with coffee can create a powerful combination.[7]

            Summary
            • Type: Stimulant
            • Good for: Energy, Focus, Learning, Memory, Motivation, and Physical Performance
            • Typical Dose: 50-200mg
            • Half-life: 15 hours

            3. Adrafinil

            Adrafinil is a stimulant that can increase energy and prevent fatigue. It is metabolized and converted into Modafinil. In fact, the effects are similar to Modafinil; however, it is not as strong. No prescription is required for Adrafinil in the US, Canada, or the UK.

            Potential side effects: headache, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, nervousness, and trouble sleeping.

            Summary
            • Type: Stimulant
            • Good for: Energy, Focus, Learning, Memory, Motivation, and Physical Performance
            • Typical Dose: 150-600mg
            • Half-life: 1 hour

            4. Noopept

            According to braintropic.com, Noopept is a powerful synthetic nootropic with cognitive enhancement and neuroprotective properties. It was developed in Russia in the mid-1990s and is used as a prescription treatment for cognitive impairments. Researchers found that, in animal studies, Noopept has been shown to stimulate the expression of two chemicals: Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).[8]

            Potential side effects: headaches, restlessness, dizziness, and irritability.

            Summary
            • Type: Peptide
            • Good for: Anxiety, Energy, Focus, Learning and Memory
            • Typical Dose: 10-20 mg
            • Half-life: 30-60 minutes

            5. Adderall

            Adderall is a stimulant used to treat those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Adderall primarily increases the release to two specific neurotransmitters involved with ADHD: dopamine and norepinephrine.

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            For an interesting read on what Adderall does to the brain – to include a good discussion of the benefits and side effects of the drug – read What adderall does to your brain by Daniela Hernandez. Similar to Modafinil, some think the movie Limitless was inspired by Adderall.

            For more on this discussion, read Limitless: The Brain-Doping Movie We All Know Was Inspired by Adderall and The Drug From Limitless Is Available for Purchase on Your College Campus.

            Adderall is considered a Schedule II Controlled Substance and a prescription is required for it. This means anyone caught in possession of it without a prescription could face criminal charges. Potential side effects: irregular heartbeat, paranoia, headaches, restlessness, dizziness, lack of appetite, high risk of dependency, and irritability.

            Summary[9]
            • Type: Stimulant
            • Good for: Energy, Focus, Learning, Memory, Motivation, and Physical Performance
            • Typical Dose: 5-40 mg (Adderall XR is 5-60 mg)
            • Half-life: 4-6 hours (Adderall XR is 6-8 hours)

            6. Oxiracetam

            Oxiracetam was developed in the 1970s and is a synthetic derivative of the original nootropic – Piracetam. However, according to braintropic.com, Oxiracetam is more potent than Piracetam. Oxiracetam has been studied for treatment with those suffering from Alzheimer’s or memory.[10] No prescription is required for Oxiracetam.

            Potential side effects: no serious side effects – the most commonly reported side effect is headache.

            Summary
            • Type: Ampakine and Racetam
            • Good for: Energy, Focus, Learning and Memory
            • Typical Dose: 400-2400 mg
            • Half-life: 8 hours

            7. Bulletproof Coffee

            Dave Asprey (also an advocate for Modafinil) is the creator of Bulletproof Coffee. Asprey contends that Bulletproof Coffee is clean and tested for toxins.

            However, when you first read about Bulletproof Coffee, you hear about the combination of Butter – Oil – Coffee. That can’t be a good combination, right?

            Wrong. It is.

            Bulletproof Coffee has been found to help with weight loss, boost cognitive functioning, maintain mental clarity, and decrease brain fog. For more on Bulletproof Coffee, read What It’s Like To Drink Bulletproof Coffee Every Morning For Two Weeks by Chris Gayomali. Potential side effects: restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, and rapid heart rate.

            Summary[11]
            • Type: Stimulant
            • Good for: Mental Clarity, Decrease Brain Fog, and Weight Loss
            • Typical Dose: Varies by type of coffee (e.g. Coffee Pods or Brew)
            • Half-life: Varies

            8. Cellucor C4 Ultimate

            Cellucor C4 Ultimate is a powerful pre workout supplement. It provides an instant cognitive boost so that you can not only get the most out of your exercise training sessions, but also maximize your ability to learn (even during exercise).

            C4 Ultimate should be consumed 20-30 minutes prior to training. No prescription is required for C4 Ultimate.

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            Potential side effects: insomnia, diarrhea, dehydration, headaches, high blood pressure, and tingly or prickly sensations. To counter these side effects, read Pre-Workout Supplements: 6 Side Effects and How To Avoid Them by Matt Weik.

            Summary[12]
            • Type: Pre Workout (crucial ingredients include: Vitamin C, Vitamins B6 and B12, Niacin, Citrulline Malate, Caffeine Anhydrous, Taurine, Beta-Alanine, Creatine Nitrate, and N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine)
            • Good for: Energy, Pumps, Endurance, and Physical Performance
            • Typical Dose: 1 scoop with water
            • Half-life: Varies

            You can get Cellucor C4 Ultimate at Cellucor.

            9. Piracetam

            Piracetam is the first synthetic smart drug developed and is the compound that inspired the term nootropic. It was invented by the same individual who coined the term nootropic – Dr. Giurgea.

            According to Brain Tropic, Piracetam works by improving blood flow in the brain, boosts the production of crucial brain chemicals, and increases synaptic plasticity.[13] It requires a prescription in the UK and Australia and cannot be legally marketed in the US as a dietary supplement.

            Potential side effects: no serious side effects – the most commonly reported side effect is headache.

            Summary
            • Type: Ampakine and Racetam
            • Good for: Learning and Memory
            • Typical Dose: 1600-4800 mg
            • Half-life: 4-5 hours

            10. Qualia Focus

            Qualia Focus is another product offered by Neurohacker. It too is a multi-nootropic with powerful cognitive enhancements. While it is not as strong as Qualia Mind, it still upgrades your energy, heightens creativity, and promotes mental clarity at a lower cost than Qualia Mind. No prescription is required.

            Side effects: headaches, sleep disturbance, muscle tightness, and upset stomach.

            Summary
            • Type: Multi-Nootropic (crucial ingredients include: Acetyl-L-Carnitine, DL-Phenylalanine, N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, Taurine, L-Theanine, Alpha GPC, Citicoline, Coffeeberry Energy, Ginko Biloba Leaf Extract, Huperzine A, and more)
            • Good for: Focus and Concentration, Memory, and Energy
            • Typical Dose: 5 capsules per day (maximum of 9)
            • Half-life: 4-6 hours

            You can learn more about Qualia Focus in Neurohacker.

            While the brain boosters listed above are not the smart drugs in Limitless or Lucy, they still provide you phenomenal results. To find out which of the 10 are the best for you, I suggest you do the following:

            1. Research each one diligently
            2. Test them out for yourself
            3. Try the following Bonus Tips along with your brain booster. In doing so, you will discover a pop-up blocker for your brain!

            Bonus Tips

            1. Take antacids to increase potency

            To increase the potency of a brain booster, ingest alkaline substances like antacids such as Tums or Alka-Seltzer. Read A Brief Guide to Non-medical Psychostimulant Use for more information.

            You should consult with your doctor as there could be serious side effects.

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            2. Take on an empty stomach

            You should take your brain booster on an empty stomach as this will further potentiate both the duration and effect of the drug. The exceptions are Qualia Mind and Focus. I recommend taking both with food as this will cause an upset stomach.

            However, you should consult with your doctor prior to taking any of the brain boosters listed and to identify the proper way to take each.

            3. Adderall alarm clock

            There is an interesting definition in the crowd-sourced online dictionary Urban Dictionary:[14]

            The Adderall Alarm Clock is defined as setting an alarm for an hour before you have to get up; upon waking, roll over and take your prescription stimulant of choice and go back to sleep. In about an hour, you wake up naturally with a smile on your face and a spring in your step.

            This actually works. Choose one of your brain boosters and try this out.

            However, you should consult with your doctor prior to attempting this as there could be serious side effects.

            4. Exercise sparks neurogenesis

            Exercise alone will provide similar benefits and could be substituted for any of the brain boosters listed. Exercise plus brain boosters provide even more cognitive enhancing benefits.

            One of the most powerful benefits exercise provides is that it sparks the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which brings about neurogenesis. Neurogenesis is the process by which new neurons are formed in the brain.[15]

            Dr. John Ratey discusses both neurogenesis and BDNF at length in his book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. Ratey dubbed BDNF the master molecule and refers to it as “Miracle-Gro for the brain”. Linda Gabriel writes about BDNF in BDNF – Miracle-Gro for the Brain, “BDNF binds to receptors in the synapses between neurons, increasing voltage (yes your brain is electric!), and improving signal strength.”

            Featured photo credit: Josh Riemer via unsplash.com

            Reference

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