How the Color Blue Impacts Moods, Feelings, and Behaviors (2024)

How does the color blue make you feel? We have long believed 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. This is perhaps why we often describe 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.

The Psychology of Blue

A survey spanning 10 countries found that blue is the most popular "favorite color" for people globally, with men preferring 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:

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

  • 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:

  • 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 (or energy center) with "high spirituality" in people who regularly practice yoga.

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.

Friday Fix: Surprising Ways Colors Affect How You Feel and Behave

Keep in Mind

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.

Press Play to Learn More About How Colors Affect the Mind and Body

Hosted by therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares how colors influence the mind and body. Click below to listen now.

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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.

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

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd
Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

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