The psychology of colour: purple

Martha Roberts, creator of The Colour File, investigates how colour makes us think, act and feel. Let’s look at heavenly purple


The psychology of colour: purple

Earliest purple dyes were made from crushed murex sea snail shells, and it took 12,000 to produce just 1g of Tyrian purple. Psychologist Karen Haller says: ‘Purple was considered regal because it was so rare. There was a time when only royalty could wear the “divine colour” because they were seen as God’s representatives on earth.’

In psychological terms, Haller says: ‘Purple relates to the higher self, truth and contemplation. We associate it with spiritual awareness and refl ection.’ Add purple to your life for improved meditation and a sense of peace.

The colour challenge

Opt for purple lighting. Pantone’s color of the year is ‘Ultra Violet’, a rich, royal purple. Pantone says the shade is ‘associated with mindfulness practices, which offer a higher ground to those seeking refuge from an overstimulated world’. Pantone recommends purple toned lighting in spaces where you meditate or in shared areas to energise communities and ‘inspire connection’.

● Surround yourself with purple flowers. These include anemone, purple hyacinth, verbena, hyssop, purple freesia, iris and lilac. Choose a different one each week and place it in an area where you want to contemplate things.

Eat purple foods three times a week. Foods that are naturally purple tend to be high in antioxidants called anthocyanins, which are linked to improved cardiovascular health, cancer prevention, dementia and longevity. A study found that women who ate three or more half-cup servings of blueberries or strawberries a week were 34 per cent less likely to have suffered a heart attack than women who ate less of these fruits.

Find out more about Martha here.

Images: Martha Roberts