Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Healing Wardrobe - 5 Tips for Using Color to Lift Your Spirit

For better or worse, color has a significant impact on our emotions. It may not surprise you to know the way each of us perceives color is unique. Bright colors that lift one person´s mood can be overwhelming or garish to someone else. Pastels that aim to soothe the spirit may be too dreary for a bubbly personality.

The colors you wear not only affect your mood, but also communicate something about your personality. The effect of color in our lives can be mystical, psychological and even functional.

During meditation, feelings of well being are enhanced with visualization of color that has specific meaning to the person. Deep breathing exercises that use a sense of color being directed at different areas of the body can help patients cope and better manage the stress and fear related to their illness.

The influence of color had never been so obvious to me until I was faced with hair loss during chemo. With a bald head, I looked - and felt - absolutely drained unless I wore flattering colors.

With the other side effects of chemo, the stress of a chronic illness or alopecia, we need all the cheering up we can get. Our hair is such a significant part of our self image that sudden, complete hair loss often has a deep impact on our identity and confidence.

Each year, thousands of women have chemo hair loss or alopecia from other medical treatments. And at some point in their lives, another 4.5 million people in the US will be affected with baldness from other causes.

But we can face this change by using our favorite colors to our advantage.

Before you choose a cancer hat, tie a head wrap scarf or turban, here are 5 tips for selecting your best colors:

1. Grab a pad & pen. Go through your closet and write the top 3 colors that look best on you. If you´re not sure, hold it near your face in front of the mirror.

2. Add to the list one or two colors that get you compliments when you wear them.

3. List 1 color you purposely avoid wearing (you may or may own that color).

4. Write down one emotion you connect with each color, whether positive or negative. For example: red (exciting, irritating or?); blue (healing or boring?); black (sophisticated or gloomy?).

5. If you don´t own at least 3 colors that make you feel good, fill in your list with the colors you need to add to your wardrobe - and the positive feeling each one gives you.

By consciously making this list, not only will you be drawn to your healing colors, but you will "anchor" that good feeling. Every time you wear these colors, it will reinforce the memory of the positive emotion.

You don´t have to buy a new wardrobe.
An accessory worn near your face, such as earrings, or a colorful necklace, can change the whole mood of your appearance.

Is that gray sweater depressing? It can be a beautiful background for a head wrap of fuchsia, purple,turquoise, elegant black, crisp white or an animal print.

For those that unfortunate folks that are stuck with having to deal with their hair every day, dyeing it to match each outfit is not a sensible option. But without hair, you can look elegant with a scarf, turban, head wrap or hat that is a proud statement of your colorful spirit.

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