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Yellow: the properties, benefits and meanings behind the most powerful colour

The colour of the sun, the colour of happiness, but also of jealousy and deception: different beliefs and superstitions rotate around yellow, but there are also those who have studied effects on the body and mind and spontaneous associations of this colour with a decidedly more scientific approach, obtaining rather interesting results. Let's discover what is hidden (in full view) under the most "powerful" colour of all.

The most powerful of colours is yellow

Yellow is the brightest colour in the visual spectrum and is therefore the easiest colour to notice for the human eye. In this sense, it is said to be the most powerful of the colours, and it is easier then to imagine why so many rich and varied images and meanings exist around this colour. But what is its meaning? Is there just one? Or maybe there are many? In tradition and common sense, it is the colour of happiness and hope, of positivity, energy and optimism. Yet for some it also has negative meanings: it is often linked to jealousy, cowardice, deception. Where do these connections come from? Is there any foundation or are they just cultural constructions?
For Leatrice Eisman, colour specialist and executive director of Pantone Colour Institute, much of this is due to the natural association between yellow and the sun. Over the last thirty years, Eisman has conducted several studies on the association between colours and words, involving thousands of people. With respect to yellow, there seems to be no doubt that it is a colour understood predominantly in a positive way: "sun", "warmth", "joy", "happiness", "playfulness" are the words that most frequently come to mind when you see this colour. But the "innate" positivity of it is not everything: even if the studies on these themes are not yet very numerous, some researchers have found a really extraordinary power in this colour.

The colour of creativity

Activating memory, promoting communication, increasing vision and self-confidence: yellow would be able to trigger all these positive effects. It is thought to have a direct influence on the right side of the brain, where deep thinking and the capacity for intuition reside.
Since yellow increases brain activity, self-awareness and energy, it is advisable to keep an object of this colour close to you when you have to find a solution to a complex problem or when you have to put a lot of effort into studying: by unlocking the creative process, yellow helps to find effective logical solutions. But beware! As with everything else, you should be careful not to exaggerate: excessive exposure to yellow can lead to a loss of concentration, making it very difficult to complete a job.

And not all shades of yellow have the same effects: bright yellow is indicated as an aid to freeing the mind, cream yellow stimulates the generation of ideas, and golden yellow is instead associated with curiosity and passion for research.

A colour to feel good

To think that the mere fact of seeing such a common colour has such an important influence on everyday activities is impressive, but there are also those who have moved the rod a little further, assuming a connection between the colour yellow, health and well-being. Every year, with the arrival of autumn and then winter, several people show symptoms of what has been identified as a mood disorder: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Easy irritability, laziness, melancholy, difficulty in interpersonal relationships, increased appetite, decreased sexual desire, insomnia or hypersomnia: for those who suffer from this disorder, the bad season is synonymous with a change of their state of health and well-being. The seasonal frequency of the disorder has made us think that it was linked to the reduction of exposure to sunlight, and for this reason some recommend treating it with colour therapy.

Many patients say they have benefited from the introduction of a fluorescent light box in their homes designed to create a more balanced light space, which gives the impression of being outdoors on a pleasant sunny day. Others, on the other hand, wear glasses with yellow lenses that aim to block the blue light rays typical of these seasons, which affect the production of melatonin and consequently the tendency to sleep a lot, often present in those who suffer from SAD. In short, yellow would not only have a positive impact on creativity and thought activity but would also be a real healing colour.

The magic of yellow

Long before science attributed yellow to these characteristic features and this power of influence, esotericism and popular beliefs gave the colour of the sun a privileged place. Those who are interested in precious stones and believe that each of them corresponds to a specific power, for example, think that yellow stones are useful to clarify important decisions, promote concentration, increase energy and even help to alleviate burnout symptoms, anxiety, nervousness and fatigue.
Even in the different local cultures yellow has taken on multiple meanings and values: in Japan, for example, it is the colour of courage, in many African countries it is linked to wealth and success, in India it is the colour of merchants. But it is the case of Thailand that is the most curious and particular: in the country of Southeast Asia yellow is considered a colour of good luck, especially on the first day of the week. It is a very popular colour especially because it is associated with King Bhumibol Adulyadej, ruler of the country from 1946 to 2016 and was born on Monday. During his reign, it was customary for many Thai people to wear something yellow on the first day of each week, to pay homage to the sovereign. And seen from a Western perspective, it seems that yellow has really managed to create magic: to make someone, or rather more than someone, appreciate “Mondays”.

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