The Psychological Impact of Light and Color

Light does much more than just help us see in the dark. In fact, different colors and types of light can have a drastic effect on our mood and overall well-being.

Continue reading to learn a little bit more about the impact of light and color on our minds and bodies and to see if you should consider replacing office lighting.

Brightness, saturation and hue

Brightness, saturation and hue are the three main color qualities of light. Brightness is the amount of light emitted by a source. Bright lights can intensify emotions, while low light can keep our emotions steady.

Saturation is the color’s intensity; muted colors can dampen emotions, and saturated hues can have amplifying emotional effects.

Hue is the actual color of the light. Natural light can make us happy, and these different colors can have various impacts on our emotions:

  • Green: Green light is known as the strength provider” In fact, green light therapy is used to stimulate hormones and strengthen bones, muscles and tissue.
  • Blue: Blue lights can be used to calm people down and even lower high blood pressure—but, as we’ll see below, blue lights can throw off our sleep schedules.
  • Purple: Like blue light, purple lighting can help reduce emotional and mental stress. Luckily, purple lighting doesn’t have the downside of keeping us up at night.
  • Orange: Orange lighting is known as the source of creativity because it can stimulate the creative thought process.
  • Yellow: When it comes to the impact of light and color, yellow can be beneficial for treating depression.

Circadian rhythm

Our circadian rhythm is our internal body clock. It influences melatonin secretion and cortisol activity, which are responsible for making us feel sleepy or alert.

The sun emits tons of blue light, which is why we tend to feel more active and alert as the day goes on. Unfortunately, our computer screens also emit this blue light, which can throw our circadian rhythms off and keep us up later at night than usual. The counterpart to blue light is red light, which increases melatonin levels and helps us get ready for bed at the end of the day.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a mood disorder that affects people during certain types of year, usually during the winter when the days are shorter and not as bright. Some symptoms of SAD include feelings of depression, having low energy, trouble sleeping and difficulty concentrating.

Light therapy is a common treatment for SAD. When exposed to blue light (which mimics the sun) for 30 minutes to an hour each morning, some people can see improvements in their SAD symptoms.

Is it time to replace your office lighting?

If your office still uses standard fluorescent lights, it’s time to consider replacing office lighting with more advanced bulbs that can help elevate or change people’s moods. Talk to our team at Box Electric Company to see how updating your office’s light can improve morale around the office while making employees more productive.