5 Things to Know About Expressing Emotions
Through Colors

1.How can children sit quietly and paint with water colors, crayons or pastels for extended periods of time, even lasting for hours? There are many reasons. Among these are that coloring helps children express their internal world. Through coloring children learn how to be focused on and patient in what they are doing.

Through coloring children learn the differences between colors. They learn new colors by mixing colors, and by coloring from scratch, they learn how to convert their emotions and thoughts to colors. Not every child can express himself/herself through writing or using words. Many more children can use the process of painting to process and express their emotions.

  1. It is important for children to learn how to identify and express emotions in a safe way. ‘’Process and Processing’’ is an online art educational program focused on mindfulness. Discovering emotion through color is one of the five lessons of the program. The key is for children to be able to express and observe their emotions through a process of connecting particular colors to particular emotions.
  2. More than one color can represent a particular emotion, and more than one emotion can be represented by a particular color. For example, let’s take four colors.

The first one is blue. Blue reflects both calmness and coldness. How do you feel when you see a clear blue sky? The next is red. If you look at red positively, it can mean energy or excitement. Taken negatively, it means anger or aggression. The third is yellow. On the positive side, yellow reflects happiness and optimism. On the negative side, it connotes anxiety and fear, and can also represent a warning. For example, warning road signs are yellow. The last is black. Black can reflect depression or grief. However, it also has other meanings. Can you think of any?

  1. The association between color and mood is covered interestingly in ‘’Children’s Emotional Associations with Colors’’. In this study, for each color children were asked, “How does (the color) make you feel?” All the children could verbally express an emotional response to each color, and 69% of children’s emotional responses were positive. Their responses also demonstrated distinct color-emotion associations. Children had positive reactions to bright colors (e.g., pink, blue, red) and negative reactions to dark colors (e.g., brown, black, gray).

Chris J. Boyatzis Department of Child Development , California State University , Fullerton & Reenu Varghese Department of Child Development , California State University, Fullerton. Pages 77-85 | Received 29 Nov 1993, Published online: 06 Jul 2010

  1. The Wheel of Emotions was created by Dr. Robert Plutchik. It describes eight primary basic emotions: trust versus disgust; joy versus sadness; anger versus fear; and surprise versus anticipation. The wheel describes the different relations among the emotions.

Now ask yourself: What colors make you happy? What is your most relaxing color?

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