Bring New Peace and Joy into Your Life!
How the colors in our home,
the trees around us, and our faith in God
affects our mood, emotions, and even our health.
Do you know that color theorists say the colors we choose to live with can greatly affect our mood, emotions, and even our health?
After seven years of widowhood, my New Year’s resolution was to add some excitement and joy to my life by repainting and redecorating my upstairs living area. While trying to decide what paint colors I should use, I did some research on how color affects our lives and was surprised to learn that color therapy has existed for centuries and that the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Chinese studied and used color to treat ailments.
Do you know that the warm colors of red, orange, and yellow evoke emotions that can range from feelings of warmth and comfort to feelings of anger and hostility? Cool colors such as blue, purple, and green are often described as calming colors, but in some cases can make one feel sad or indifferent. Thus you should think twice before picking the paint colors for each room of your home and ask yourself how you want to feel when you walk into that room. (For more information, read “The Mood-Boosting Benefits of Color Therapy.”)
“Color is like food for the spirit—
plus it’s not addictive or fattening.”
– Isaac Mizarani
After living for twenty years with white walls in the main living area, I decided to splash my lower-level entry hall, living and dining area walls, and hallway to the bedrooms with two luscious shades of blue while also brightening the dull white ceilings. The brick fireplace, which someone had painted white long before Harry and I bought the house, was given a rich brick color with a lighter shade for the mortar between the bricks. This dramatically transformed the whole area.
At the same time, I also recovered the large curved, custom-built couch Harry and I started our lives with that I loved too much to part with. The orange woven fabric was replaced with a smooth blue patterned upholstery fabric that complemented the new wall colors and blended with the carousel serigraphs Harry and I treasured. This area, with its colorful bookshelves on two walls, quickly became a place that made me feel relaxed and at peace, the perfect room for spending a Sunday afternoon with a good book and soft music playing in the background.
The Health Benefits of Being around Trees
One day when I got a brochure from my tree service, I strongly related to this quote from it. Maybe you will too:
“Studies have shown that spending time among trees can reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and anger; enhance sleep quality and boost overall well-being. It can even enhance our immune system, thanks to plant-provided chemicals (phytoncides) that increase human defenses against viral invasion and tumor formation. Some studies show that just looking at trees can reduce blood pressure, cortisol, and adrenaline.”
I am blessed to have several trees in my yard. Two that give me the most pleasure are the birch tree in my front yard and the maple tree in the back that I see when I’m in my kitchen.
Every day as I walk the hall many times from the back of the house where my office is, my gaze is always on the birch tree limb that stretches across two of the three windows in the living room. This view gives me a feeling of peace, and I can’t imagine my life without this particular tree. Each morning when I open the blinds in the living room, my cat, Liza, “helps” by jumping on the back of the couch, and we share a few special moments as we both watch a squirrel on the tree limb or see someone walking their dog.
My backyard maple tree gives me even greater pleasure because I take some of my meals at the kitchen table in front of the corner windows that give me a glorious view of it. I consider this particular tree the anchor to my whole backyard. I almost lost it one year when it was attacked by disease. The arborist who treated it had little hope the whole tree would survive, but I prayed for it and God restored it to health. Thus I always feel blessed when it gives me glorious color in the fall and then fills out again in the spring to give me a summer shade umbrella for my little patio. Pictured here is Liza on her cat tree gazing at something in the tree. I think she likes her view from these windows as much as I do.
Treasure Each Day You’re Given
When Paul “Bear” Bryant (one of the greatest coaches of all time) died, his wife found in his wallet a worn, yellowed piece of paper that he had read many times. This prayer is all over the internet as Coach “Bear” Bryant’s Prayer, but the words were actually written by Dr. Heartsill Wilson, one of the most popular sales and motivational speakers of his time (1920-1994). I found this prayer pertinent to my life and think you will too:
“This is the beginning of a new day. God has given me this day to use as I will. I can waste it or use it for good. “What I do today is very important, because I am exchanging a day of my life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving something in its place that I have traded for it. “I want it to be a gain, not a loss. Good, not evil. Success, not failure, in order that I shall not forget the price I paid for it.”
“The U.S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.” – Benjamin Franklin
“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them. Cherish simple things such as family, friends and love, because great things appear simple from far away. Place your simple things in the best light; there’s enough sunshine for all of them.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
“Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do” (Ecclesiastes 9:7).
“We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.” – Bill Watterson, Legendary cartoonist and author of “Calvin and Hobbes”
Previously published as a Brabec Bulletin blog post on November 16, 2022.
Selected Reader Comments from email messages:
“Lovely post, and a wonderful time of year to talk about color. Your redecorating sounds lovely and so do the trees in your yard. Love the quote you ended with.” – Gayle L.S.
“Thanks for another gorgeous bulletin. Long ago I learned that prison colors are mostly green. Some tried pinks and rosy hues for a while and found that violence went up. As for peace, my mom, who lived a terribly hard life, used to often tell me that when in trouble, ‘go to nature’ to find peace. So true.” – George B.
“When I was doing neurofeedback, I discovered I release endorphins (natural pain killers) when I look at bright colors!” – C Sandy C-M
“I love reading your stuff. Your decorating plans reminded me of my early years as a writer, with few opportunities to learn the ‘right’ way.” – Joan W.A.
“I have read your recent Bulletin every day since it arrived. It's perfect!” – Ruth E.