July - September 2010 Edition: Naples Health

July-September

Month–Month 2009 10

Y ellow shows up often as well, something Schroeder attributes to the abundant light in Southwest Florida. She is most surprised, though, by the occasional flashes of red that pop up in almost every painting. “I don’t do it on purpose,” the artist insists. “It’s something I can’t resist. I think it comes from my walks. I go walk- ing and see green, green, green. Then, bing! There’s a bit of red. I love that kind of little surprise in nature. The longer I look at a scene, the more colors pop out.” In her Arts in Healing work at NCH, Schroeder has seen similar responses to color among the patients. The program offers patients opportunities to work on art and craft projects as a group and also individually in their rooms via a mobile art cart. She has noticed that patients will often choose colors that reflect their moods or ones that they seem to think will lift their spirits.

Here’s why: Experiment by staring at the cover of this magazine for a few minutes. Do you feel calmer? Less hungry? Several studies have shown that this particular shade of pink, dubbed Baker-Miller pink, promotes a state of relaxation as well as a reduced appetite. Keep it handy to soothe your nerves and suppress those between- meal cravings.

www.nchmd.org

Doctors Are People, Too! Meet the folks behind the lab coats Medical Detectives At Work Solving mysteries and saving lives Why pink ? is this cover See page 16 for how color can affect your health

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“People who have difficulty communicat- ing use shades of blue. People with low energy use red. If they’re really down, they choose browns and blacks.”

In February 2010, AOL Health reported that researchers from the University of Manchester in England had developed a color chart that can be used to study people’s states of mind. The researchers tested their color wheel on a group diagnosed with depression as well as a control group of non-depressed, non-anxious volunteers. Participants were asked to identify the color they felt most drawn to, the one that was their favorite and the one that reflected their current mood. In both groups, most people chose yellow as the color they were most drawn to and blue as their favorite. In the final category, however, there was a marked difference. The healthy participants overwhelm- ingly selected yellow as the color reflecting their mood. The depressed people, by contrast, typically chose a shade of gray. The researchers, who reported their findings in the BMC Medi- cal Research Methodology journal, believe their color wheel can assist people with communication difficulties to give an accurate depiction of their state of mind. One of the most intriguing cases of psychological color research deals with Baker-Miller pink. In 1978, psychologists

“I’ve seen people who have difficulty communicating often use turquoise or other shades of blue,” she says. “If I put out red, that’s too strong for them. But people with low energy will often want to use red. If they’re really down, they will choose browns and blacks. “You can see the connection with color,” Schroeder contin- ues. “Orange and yellow—those are happy kinds of colors. If patients want to cheer themselves, they sometimes go for the oranges and yellows. We encourage that, too. Why choose a certain color? Because it can change your mood.”

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BAKER-MILLER PINK

Schroeder’s observations have been borne out by psycholo- gists who explored color and people’s reactions to certain hues. In the mid-20th century, Swiss psychologist Max Lüscher developed a color test that he believed would reveal people’s subconscious views of themselves.

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Naples Health | JULY-SEPTEMBER 2010

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