How the Color Blue Impacts Moods, Feelings, and Behaviors (2023)

How does the color blue make you feel? People have long believed that certain colors can evoke different moods and feelings, and some research has supported the idea that colors can have psychological effects.

Blue is a color often found in nature, such as the pale blue of a daytime sky or the rich dark blue of a deep pool of water. It is for this reason, perhaps, that people often describe the color blue as calm and serene. Yet as a cool color, blue can sometimes seem icy, distant, or even cold.

Learn more about the psychology of the color blue, including various color blue meanings related to culture, spirituality, and more.

How the Color Blue Impacts Moods, Feelings, and Behaviors (1)

The Psychology of Blue

A survey spanning 10 countries found that blue is the most popular "favorite color" for people globally, with men preferring the color blue more often than women (40% versus 24%, respectively, among subjects from the United States). But what impact does this color have on us psychologically?

Color psychology tells us a lot about the effects that certain colors can have on a person's mood, emotions, and behaviors. Here's what we know about the psychology of blue:

  • Because blue is favored by so many people, it is often viewed as a non-threatening color that can seem conservative and traditional.
  • Blue calls to mind feelings of calmness and relaxation. It is often described as peaceful, tranquil, secure, and orderly.
  • Blue is seen as a sign of stability and reliability. Businesses that want to project an image of security often utilize blue in their advertising and marketing efforts.
  • Blue can also create feelings of sadness or aloofness. Consider how a painting that heavily features blue, such as those produced by Picasso during his "blue period," can seem lonely, sad, or forlorn.
  • Blue is often used to decorate offices because research has shown that people are more productive and creative when working in blue rooms.
  • Blue is one of the most popular colors, but it is also one of the least appetizing. Some weight loss plans even recommend eating your food off a blue plate. Why? Blue rarely occurs naturally in food. Also, humans are geared to avoid foods that are poisonous and blue coloring in food is often a sign of spoilage or poison.

Blue can also affect a person's physiological functions. For instance, research has found that the color blue can reduce a person's heart rate, causing a "sleepy effect." It can also lower body temperature.

Blue Feelings

Look at the use of blue in the image that accompanies this article. How does blue make you feel? Do you associate blue with certain qualities or situations? Also consider how blue is used in language: blue moon, blue Monday, blue blood, the blues, and blue ribbon.

Individual experiences have an important effect on the moods that colors can create. If you associate the color blue with a vivacious and lively friend, you might see it as a high-energy color that evokes a sense of excitement.

The Color Blue Meanings

The meaning we assign to the color blue can vary based on several factors, some of which include our culture, spirituality, symbolism, and more.

Cultural Meanings

The feelings evoked by certain colors are not necessarily universal. Cultural differences sometimes play a role in how people perceive color. According to research, here's what the color blue means in various areas of the world:

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  • India: blue represents truth, mercy, and love
  • Latin America: blue is associated with mourning, but also trust and tranquility
  • North America: blue is soothing and signifies a trustworthy person or official business
  • United Kingdom: blue symbolizes tranquility, dignity, and decorum
  • Western European countries: blue is truth, serenity, reliability, responsibility, and fidelity

Spiritual Meanings

Blue is often considered a spiritual color as its hues make up the sky, which is representative of heaven. Blue is also the primary color of the oceans and seas, and many people feel connected to these bodies of water spiritually.

The throat chakra is represented by the color blue, with some studies connecting this chakra with "high spirituality" in people who regularly practice yoga. Chakras are the body's energy centers and are thought to help the organs and mind function at optimal levels.

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Symbolic Meanings

Blue symbolizes trust, responsibility, dedication, and bravery. Several law enforcement agencies in America don blue uniforms as this color is seen as being more authoritative (especially when the hue is dark) and often evokes feelings of security.

In the workplace, the blue throat chakra is associated with higher levels of employee loyalty and goal orientation. It also symbolizes calmness, dependability, health, and healing.

Other Meanings

Some assign the color blue with other meanings based on the context in which it is used.

  • Blue meaning in love: In love and relationships, the color blue represents fidelity and loyalty, hence the reason that, in America, it is traditional for a bride to wear "something blue" on her wedding day.
  • Blue meaning in life: Blue often represents peace and tranquility in one's life. As we grow older, blue spaces can even provide therapeutic benefits.
  • Blue meaning in personality: People with a "blue color personality" typically have certain traits, namely compassion, sympathy, sincerity, imagination, and enthusiasm.

Overview of Color Psychology

The idea that color affects us psychologically is not a new concept as it first emerged in 1810 when the German poet and scientist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe penned the Theory of Colours. Since then, color psychology has been expanded upon as researchers seek to explain the impact it has on how we think, feel, and behave.

Color's effects are so impactful that it has led to the development of color therapy. Also known as chromotherapy, color therapy helps treat mental health conditions by bringing balance to the body and mind through exposure to colored lights, visualizing certain colors, and massage with colored oils.

A Word From Verywell

While exploring the psychology of color can be interesting, it is also important to remember that reactions to color can also be highly personal. Past experiences can play a role in shaping how people feel about and respond to different colors.

While some people find blue to be a sad or somber color, others may interpret it as peaceful or inspiring. Pay attention to how the color blue makes you feel and consider some of the different influences that may have influenced your feelings.

14 Sources

Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Elliot AJ. Color and psychological functioning: a review of theoretical and empirical work.Front Psychol. 2015;6:368. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00368

  2. Jordan W. Why is blue the world's favorite color? YouGov America.

  3. AL-Ayash A, Kane RT, Smith D, Green-Armytage P. The influence of color on student emotion, heart rate, and performance in learning environments. Color Res Appl. 2015;41(2):196-205. doi:10.1002/col.21949

  4. Savavibool N, Gatersleben B, Moorapun C. The effects of colour in work environment: A systematic review. Asian J Behav Stud. 2018;3(13):149-160. doi:10.21834/ajbes.v3i13.152

  5. Schlintl C, Schienle A. Effects of coloring food images on the propensity to eat: A placebo approach with color suggestions. Front Psychol. 2020;11:589826. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.589826

  6. Suzuki M, Kimura R, Kido Y, Inoue T, Moritani T, Nagai N. Color of hot soup modulates postprandial satiety, thermal sensation, and body temperature in young women. Appetite. 2017;114:209-216. doi:10.1016/j.appet. 2017.03.041

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  7. Alnasuan A. Color psychology. Am Res J Human Soc Sci. 2016;2016:1-6.

  8. Priyal VV, Ramkumar N. Effect of Aura-Chakra, yoga and spirituality on an individual's performance in the workplace. Studies Ethno-Med. 2016;10(2):166-177. doi:10.1080/09735070.2016.11905485

  9. Mendelson D. Uniform color theory. Security Management.

  10. Xu L, Xu M. Comparison on wedding culture between China and Western countries. 2018 8th International Conference on Education, Management, Computer and Society.

  11. Finlay J, Franke T, McKay H, Sims-Gould J. Therapeutic landscapes and wellbeing in later life: Impacts of blue and green spaces for older adults. Health & Place. 2015;34:97-106. doi:10.1016/j.healthplace.2015.05.001

  12. MSU Extension. Real Colors personality temperament tool - Part 5: Blue. Michigan State University.

  13. Elliot AJ. Color and psychological functioning: a review of theoretical and empirical work. Front Psychol. 2015;6:368. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00368

  14. Gupta R. Color therapy in mental health and well being. Int J All Res Educ Sci Methods. 2021;9(2):1068-1076.

(Video) Color Psychology - How Colors Influence Your Choices and Feelings

How the Color Blue Impacts Moods, Feelings, and Behaviors (2)

By Kendra Cherry
Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.

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FAQs

How does the color blue affect your mood? ›

Blue. Blue makes you feel safe and relaxed. Blue evokes feelings of calmness and spirituality as well as security and trust. Seeing the color blue causes the body to create chemicals that are calming.

How does color blue affect your feelings and perception in life? ›

These warm colors evoke emotions ranging from feelings of warmth and comfort to feelings of anger and hostility. Whereas blue colors like purple and green are known for evoking feelings of calm, sadness, or indifference.

Can colors play a role in enhancing a person's mood explain how the color blue can make a person feel relaxed and calm? ›

The human brain associates warm colors—such as red, orange, and yellow—with a range of feelings, including passion, comfort, anger, and power. Cool colors—such as blue, green, and purple—have the opposite effect, creating a calming atmosphere that counteracts feelings of anxiety.

What are the feelings of blue? ›

Feeling “blue” or being down in the dumps” are ways we describe feelings of sadness or melancholy.

Why is blue good for mental health? ›

experts from Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) have found that spending time in blue spaces lowers the risk of stress, anxiety, obesity, cardiovascular disease and premature death.

What are the benefits of the color blue? ›

Health and wellbeing benefits of the colour blue

Blue instils peace, tranquillity, calmness and serenity, helping to reduce anxiety, aggression, as well as high blood pressure and heart rates.

How does blue describe your personality? ›

Those with Blue color personality strengths tend to be enthusiastic, sympathetic, communicative, compassionate, idealistic, sincere and imaginative. They care and want to contribute to everything they are a part of. Relationships are important to blues.

What is the meaning of color blue in your life? ›

The color blue represents both the sky and the sea and is associated with open spaces, freedom, intuition, imagination, inspiration, and sensitivity. Blue also represents meanings of depth, trust, loyalty, sincerity, wisdom, confidence, stability, faith, and intelligence.

How is color believed to impact mood and behavior? ›

The color green seems to make positive emotions stronger and negative emotions weaker. White and pink may have similar effects, but researchers are still studying those. Meanwhile, the color red seems to have the opposite effect and make negative emotions -- like those linked to failure and danger -- more intense.

How is color used to represent feelings and mood? ›

Warm colors – such as red, yellow and orange – can spark a variety of emotions ranging from comfort and warmth to hostility and anger. Cool colors – such as green, blue and purple – often spark feelings of calmness as well as sadness.

Do colors affect our behavior? ›

Research says yes; color can absolutely affect your mood, behavior and stress levels. Color specialist Leatrice Eiseman says how colors affect us correlates to that colors behavior in nature. Eiseman has asked thousands of people what they think of specific colors and has found many patterns.

Does blue mean happy or sad? ›

Blue is is considered to be calming and serene, but is also associated with sadness and aloofness. Research has shown that people are more productive in blue rooms.

Why does blue make you calm? ›

Blue is the colour of the mind and is essentially soothing; it affects us mentally, rather than the physical reaction we have to red. Strong blues will stimulate clear thought and lighter, soft blues will calm the mind and aid concentration. Consequently it is serene and mentally calming.

Does blue help with stress? ›

Blue – A highly peaceful color, blue can be especially helpful for stress management because it can encourage a powerful sense of calm.

Does blue help with anxiety? ›

This color stands true to its appearance. Peaceful, calm and gentle, blue has tremendous power to manage stress. It's a very soothing color that helps calm your mind, slow down your heart rate, lower your blood pressure and reduce anxiety.

Is blue a color of mental health? ›

Blue is a calming colour, reflecting inner peace and healing. The colour itself increases wisdom, honesty and trust. It's why so many banks and communication companies use it in their marketing!

What is the energy value of blue color? ›

The visible spectrum
colour*wavelength (nm)energy (eV)
green5502.25
cyan5002.48
blue4502.75
violet (limit)4003.10
5 more rows

What are words to describe blue? ›

synonyms for blue
  • blue-green.
  • azure.
  • beryl.
  • cerulean.
  • cobalt.
  • indigo.
  • navy.
  • royal.

What does liking blue say about your personality? ›

Blue is said to represent your sensitive and reliable side, with a consistent effort to think of others. Lovers of blue typically respect that stability is an extremely important aspect of your life, and you probably like to keep a clean and tidy household.

What did blue symbolize? ›

Blue is a primary color across all models of color space. It is the color of the ocean and the sky; it often symbolizes serenity, stability, inspiration, or wisdom. It can be a calming color, and symbolize reliability.

Why is blue unique? ›

But when it comes to nature, blue is very rare. Less than 1 in 10 plants have blue flowers and far fewer animals are blue. So why is that? Part of the reason is that there isn't really a true blue colour or pigment in nature and both plants and animals have to perform tricks of the light to appear blue.

How colors affect your mood essay? ›

In the world today colors are used to express different types of emotions. For example, red represents danger or anger, blue has a melancholy feel, and yellow has a happy feel. These are crucial to understand when using visual rhetoric, it can place emotion in the audience if use effectively.

What does the color blue mean psychologically? ›

Because blue is favored by so many people, it is often viewed as a non-threatening color that can seem conservative and traditional. Blue calls to mind feelings of calmness and relaxation. 3 It is often described as peaceful, tranquil, secure, and orderly. Blue is seen as a sign of stability and reliability.

What color represents what emotion? ›

Red: Anger, embarrassment, passion, or lust. Blue: Shyness, sadness, or calmness. Yellow: Cowardice, happiness, or caution. Green: Disgust, envy, friendliness, or greed.

Why do some colors make you feel emotions? ›

While some color preferences do come from culture, others are learned through experiences. As we encounter situations in our daily life, our memory is shaped by some of these experiences and our brain associates emotions to them. Because colors are present in our environment, an emotion-color association takes place.

What colors go with feelings? ›

How does color influence emotion
  • Red: love, passion, danger, anger.
  • Orange: happiness, energy, vitality, activity.
  • Yellow: cheerfulness, joy, intellect, mental clarity.
  • Green: abundance, nature, new beginnings, wealth.
  • Blue: loyalty, honesty, reliability, communication.
  • Purple: royalty, creativity, mystery, spirituality.
Jul 14, 2020

What color makes people happy? ›

Yellow is usually the color of happy, joyful emotions.

How does color affect mental health? ›

Studies have shown that blue and green can create a calming atmosphere; orange and yellow can stimulate appetite; red and pink can inspire passion and energy; while purple can boost creativity and productivity.

Why is it called a blue mood? ›

Note that "blue mood" doesn't mean a bad mood. As you say, it means "sad". I might feel blue because my baby left me, I lost my job, my car broke down, my guitar broke a string, and I ran out of whiskey (i.e. I might be singing the blues), but that doesn't mean I would also be in a bad mood.

Does blue mean peace? ›

Blue: Peace, tranquility, cold, calm, stability, harmony, unity, trust, truth, confidence, conservatism, security, cleanliness, order, loyalty, sky, water, technology, depression, appetite suppressant. Turquoise symbolizes calm.

Does the color blue cause anxiety? ›

High A-Trait students were significantly more anxious while viewing blue, red, and green than were the low A-Trait students and blue produced significantly more state anxiety than did either yellow or green.

What does the color blue symbolize? ›

The color blue represents both the sky and the sea and is associated with open spaces, freedom, intuition, imagination, inspiration, and sensitivity. Blue also represents meanings of depth, trust, loyalty, sincerity, wisdom, confidence, stability, faith, and intelligence.

What does blue say about personality? ›

Those with Blue color personality strengths tend to be enthusiastic, sympathetic, communicative, compassionate, idealistic, sincere and imaginative. They care and want to contribute to everything they are a part of. Relationships are important to blues.

Does blue help you focus? ›

Blue is a soothing color, helping calm the mind and aid concentration. It's no wonder then that blue is a popular color to use in office spaces. It enhances wakefulness and supports clear communication. Blue is a great choice if you want to get straight to the point.

What does blue mean on a mood right? ›

Blue on a mood ring means that the wearer is calm and neutral.

Why do we say feeling blue? ›

Origin of Feeling Blue

The use of the color blue to mean sadness goes all the way back to the 1300s. Some sources point to Geoffrey Chaucer as the first author to write the word blue. He wrote Wyth teres blewe and with a wounded herte in his poem Complaint of Mars from around the year 1385.

Does the color blue stimulate the brain? ›

Exposure to light in the morning, and blue/green light in particular, prompts the release of the hormone cortisol which stimulates and wakes us, and inhibits the release of melatonin.

Can blue cause depression? ›

Scientists think nighttime exposure to blue light throws off your circadian rhythm, or sleep/wake cycle. This could lead to symptoms of depression. That's because your circadian rhythm plays a role in several brain and behavioral processes, like neurotransmission and hormone secretion.

How does color affect behavior? ›

Warm colors like red, yellow and orange evoke higher arousal emotions, such as love, passion, happiness, and anger. Cool colors, like blue, green and purple are linked to calmness, sadness and indifference. Colors can trigger these arousal states and emotions.

How does blue represent peace? ›

The Blue Color reminds us first of all the nature and infinite since reminded us directly to the sea and the sky. Blue is a color that symbolizes peace, calm, serenity, freshness but also the sensitivity. White represents mainly positive values such as purity, balance or innocence.

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