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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

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    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

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        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

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            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 November 5, 2019

            How to Memorize a Speech the Smart Way

            How to Memorize a Speech the Smart Way

            Did you know that 75% of the population suffers from glossophobia? That scary sounding word is one of the most common phobia’s in the world, fear of public speaking.

            I’ll bet even as you are reading this, you are getting nervous thinking about giving a speech.

            I have got good news for you. In this article, I will share with you a step by step method on how to memorize a speech the smart way. Once you have this method down, your confidence in yourself to deliver a successful speech will increase substantially. Read on to feel well prepared the next time you have to memorize and deliver a speech.

            Common Mistakes of Memorizing a Speech

            Before we get to the actual process of how to memorize a speech the smart way, let’s look at the two most common mistakes many of us tend to make while preparing for a speech.

            Complete Memorization

            In an attempt to ensure they remember every detail, many people aim to completely memorize their speech. They practice it over and over until they have every single word burned into their brain.

            In many ways, this is understandable because most of us are naturally frightened of having to give a speech. When the time comes, we want to be completely and totally prepared and not make any mistakes.

            While this makes a lot of sense, it also comes with its own negative side. The downside to having your speech memorized word for word is that you sound like a robot when delivering the speech. You become so focused on remembering every single part that you lose the ability to inflect your speech to varying degrees, and free form the talk a bit when the situation warrants.

            Lack of Preparation

            The other side of the coin to complete memorization is people who don’t prepare enough. Because they don’t want to come off sounding like a robot, they decide they will mostly “wing it”.

            Sometimes they will write a few main points down on a piece of paper to remind themselves. They figure once they get going, the details will somehow fill themselves in under the big talking points while they are doing the talking.

            The problem is that unless this is a topic you know inside and out and have spoken on it many times, you’ll wind up missing key points. It’s almost a given that as soon as you are done with your speech, you’ll remember many things you should have brought up while talking.

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            There’s a good balance to be had between over and under preparing. Let’s now look at how to memorize a speech the smart way.

            How to Memorize a Speech (Step-by-Step Guide)

            1. Write Out Your Speech

            The first step in the process is to simply write out your speech.

            Many people like to write out the entire speech. Other people are more inclined to write their speech outline style. Whichever way your brain works best is the way you should write your speech.

            Personally, I like to break things down into the primary points I want to make, and then back up each major point with several details. Because my mind works this way, I tend to write out speeches, and articles for that matter, by doing an outline.

            Once I have the outline completed, I will then fill in several bullet points to back up each big topic.

            For instance, if I was going to give a speech on how to get in better shape my outline would look something like this:

            Benefits of being in shape

            • Point #1
            • Point #2
            • Point #3

            Exercise

            • Point #1
            • Point #2
            • Point #3

            Diet

            • Point #1
            • Point #2
            • Point #3

            Rest and hydration

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            • Point #1
            • Point #2
            • Point #3

            ConclusionNo need for points here, just a few sentences wrapping things up.

            As you might imagine, this step typically is the hardest because it’s not only the first step but it also involves the initial creation of the speech.

            2. Rehearse Your Speech

            Now that you’ve written your speech, or outline, it’s time to start saying it out loud. It’s completely fine to simply read what you’ve written line by line at this point. What you are working on doing is getting the outline and getting a feel for the speech.

            If you’ve written the entire speech out, you’ll be editing it while you are rehearsing it. Many times as we say things out loud, we realize that what we wrote needs to be changed and altered. This is how we work towards having a well rounded and smooth speech. Feel free to change things as needed while you are rehearsing your speech.

            If you are like me and you’ve written the outline, this is where some of the supporting bullet points will begin to come out. Normally, I will have written several bullet points under each main topic. But as I say it out loud, I will begin to fill in more and more details. I might scratch certain bullet points and add others. I might think of something new at this stage while I am listening to myself and want to add it.

            The key to remember here is that you laying the foundation for your awesome speech. At this point, it’s a work in progress, you are getting the key pieces in place.

            3. Memorize the Bigger Parts

            As you are rehearsing your speech, you want to focus on memorizing the bigger parts, or the main points.

            Going back to my example of how to get in better shape, I’d want to ensure I have memorized my primary points. These include the benefits of being in shape, exercise, diet, rest and hydration, and the conclusion. These are the main points I want to make and I will then fill in further details. I’ve got to ensure I know these very well first and foremost.

            By practicing your major points, you are building the framework for your speech. After you have this solid outline in place, you’ll continue by adding in the details to round things out.

            4. Fill In the Details

            Now that you have the big chunks memorized, it’s time to work on memorizing the details. These detail points will provide support and context for your major points. You can work on this all at once or break it down to the details that support each major point.

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            For example, the details I might have under the “exercise” big point might include such things as cardio, weights, how many times a week to exercise, how long to actually exercise, and several examples of actual exercises. In this example, I have 5 detail points to memorize to support my major point of “exercise”.

            It’s a good idea to test yourself regularly as you are rehearsing your speech. Ask yourself:

            What are the 5 detail points I want to talk about that support my 3rd main point?

            You need to be able to fire those off quickly. Until you can do this, you won’t be able to associate each of the details with the main point.

            You have to be able to have them grouped together in your mind so that it comes out naturally in your speech. So that when you think of main point #2, you automatically think of the 4 supporting details associated with it.

            Keep working at this stage until you can run through your speech completely several times and remember all of your big points and the supporting details.

            Once you can do that with relative ease, it will be time for the final step, working on your delivery.

            5. Work on Your Delivery

            You’ve got the bulk of the work done now. You’ve written your speech and rehearsed enough times to have not only your main points memorized but also your supporting details. In short, you should have your speech almost done.

            There’s one more step in how to memorize a speech the smart way. The final component is to work on how you deliver your speech.

            For the most part, you can go give your speech now. After all, you have it memorized. If you want to ensure you do it right, you’ll want to hone how you are delivering your speech.

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            You work on your delivery by rehearsing and running through it a number of times and making tweaks along the way. These tweaks or changes may be are’s where you’d want to pause for effect.

            If you’ve found you have used one word 5 times in one paragraph, you might want to swap it out for a similar word a few times to keep it fresh.

            Sometimes while working on this part, I’ve thought of a great story that’s happened to me that I can incorporate to make my point even better.

            When you work on your delivery, you are basically giving your speech a personality as well.

            The Bottom Line

            And there you have it, a step by step approach on how to memorize a speech the smart way.

            The next time you are asked to give a speech don’t let glossophobia rear its familiar head. Instead, remember this easy to use guide to help craft a powerful speech.

            Using the method shown here will help you deliver your next speech with increased confidence.

            More About Public Speaking

            Featured photo credit: Anna Sullivan via unsplash.com

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