Colour Me Happy

Researchers have recently discovered that people who are feeling sad become colour impaired. Seriously, they’re less likely to see vibrant, bright hues compared to folks who are feeling upbeat or neutral. Find this surprising? I’d always assumed it worked the other way… that we feel more depressed on a dull, drizzly, grey-weather day, and that we’re immensely cheered up by the dynamic colours of, say, an all-expenses-paid tropical vacation. At least, I’m pretty certain that’s how it works for me.

But a psychology team at the University of Rochester showed that study participants who watched sad video clips, instead of happy or neutral videos, were less able to distinguish between colours on the blue-yellow axis.

What does this mean in good-deeds terms? It means that when you buoy up someone who’s feeling down – a kid who’s bummed about going back to school, let’s say – you’re actually taking the grey away. So go ahead, brighten someone’s day. Literally.

One of my happy places – my flower garden, where the colours never fail to dazzle me. Now it all makes sense.

One of my happy places – my flower garden, where the colours never fail to dazzle me. Now it all makes sense.

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