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Month: April 2017

Green – Reasons to love and hate the marmite colour

For 2017 a green shade is Pantone colour of the year, appropriately called Greenery; fresh and vibrant it truly makes you think of freshly uncurled leaves.

“There’s an understanding now, that you can use green as a neutral colour, just as Mother Nature does. With any flower that pops out of the Earth, you never say, ‘oh, that can’t go against green’.” Leatrice EisemanExecutive Director of the Pantone Color Institute

The colour green is everywhere, we see it everyday whether we work or live rurally or in urban settings. From sumptuously filled gardens to the weeds in between the paving slabs on our way to work, it is ever present. Despite this the colour green is often portrayed as an afterthought, much less popular than its “shade cousin” blue and also associated with unluckiness in some countries and jobs.

As it is green’s year, I thought it was the perfect moment to look at this colour in more detail and find out why and where we should and conversely shouldn’t, be including green in our lives.

What is Green?Hand drawn leaf Becky Woolley

Green is perched between blue and yellow on the visible light section of the electromagnetic spectrum and has a wavelength of around 510nm. Things, such as for example vegetation, appear green because all the other colours in the visible part of the spectrum are absorbed into the leaves but green is reflected.

Green Colour Associations around the World

In many languages, including English, green is irrevocably intertwined with growth in nature but culturally green has a myriad of different meanings across the world. In Europe and the USA green denotes Spring, a sign of rebirth and environmental knowledge. However in China green means exorcism and in hats, that someone’s wife is cheating. Green in Japan means life and in Islam green shows hope and virtue. In Feng Shui green means Yin and a refreshing, nurturing, calming and healing energy.

green scooterUnlucky?

Widely thought of as an unlucky colour for a vehicle, many people would rather have any other colour paintwork rather than go for green. Interestingly dark green was a very popular colour for early automobiles but now only 6% of cars (from a 2013 survey) are this colour and this figure is still dropping.

But can the colour of your car really be linked to higher crash rates?

A Monash University Accident Research Centre study in Australia found a clear statistical link between car colour and risk of crash. This showed that cars that might be more difficult to see clearly, such as darker cars like black, brown and green, were more likely to have more severe crashes than lighter or white cars. However green, although high up, was not at the top of the list of most crashes so why do we have such a specific view that green cars are unlucky when it comes to crashes?

One possible link is that in 1910 a car being driven in a race in Syracuse lost control and killed several watching members of the public – it was green. Then again in 1920 Gaston Chevrolet was killed in his green car during a race. These two events seem to have had a big impact on the racing car scene with this superstition being at its highest between the 20’s and the 50’s. This feeling is only now starting to ebb because corporate sponsors want their logos on cars and if the sponsor’s logo happens to be green, drivers on that sponsors team have to put aside the superstition in order to drive.

And Now the Positives

There is mounting research both being undertaken and already completed that colour can affect your mood and enhance your memory and creativity.

A study from the University of Essex assessed mood and tiredness in a group of 14 men. The group rode an exercise bike for 5 minutes while watching a simulated cycle through natural surroundings with either a green, red or monochrome filter applied. The participants reported feeling less tired and had steadier mood fluctuations when the green filter was applied than when the other two filters were used.

The same research team also undertook a previous study which found that even a tiny amount of exercise outside provided very positive improvements in mood and self-esteem.

Green surroundingThey theorised that these positive effects traced back to when lush greenery to our early ancestors indicated plentiful food and water and would presumably provide calmer and happier feelings as a result.

Another study, on the relationship between colour and emotion completed by Naz Kaya PH.D. and Helen Epps PH.D. from the University of Georgia used 98 college students as the participants. They used a computer screen to separately show each participant a series of ten colours – red, yellow, green, blue, purple, yellow-red, green-yellow, blue-green, purple-blue and red-purple. They were then asked to report their emotional response to the colour on the screen and how it made them feel. Out of all the colours, green was mentioned most positively with 95% of responses being positive. The words and emotions people associated with green were relaxation, calmness, happiness, comfort, peace, hope and excitement. The participants said that they associated green with nature and plants which made them feel more soothed.

Increased Concentration and Creativity?

A slightly different slant on green’s positive impact is that research by Dr. Kate Lee found that it can also boost concentration and help you make less errors in your work. A group of students were given a boring computer based task to do but which involved concentration not to press the wrong button at certain times. When the students had a mini break half of them viewed a green roof and the other half a concrete roof. Those who had viewed the green roof made less mistakes and concentrated more than those who didn’t in the second half of the boring task completed after the break. She put forward the theory that the green view had given the students a mental boost and also a mind relax.

Links between green and enhanced creativity was made in a study by Lichtenfeld, Elliot, Maier and Pekrun where a very quick glimpse of green before doing a creative task boosted participant’s creative performance as opposed to when other colours were viewed.

So where or how is the best way to welcome green into your life?

Given that green seems to be beneficial for mood, concentration and creativity; it sounds like offices and educational establishments would benefit from a bit of greening here and there. In the home, green could be beneficial in home offices and also in rooms where you want to relax and recuperate. As with everything, use with moderation as too much green could also be overwhelming. Elle Décor suggests using some paler greens as neutrals and adding feature colours to imitate flower colours.

When it comes to transport it appears it is darker cars in general that are more likely to have crashes than lighter cars due to heightened visibility and not than green is particularly unlucky. However if safety is your primary concern when buying a car you may want to consider the colour and go for lighter rather than darker colour car shades.

 So Love it or hate it, green does have some very good points, just perhaps not when it comes to cars! How will you be using green this year?

For more of our blog posts please have a browse here

Information sources and links to further information:

https://science-edu.larc.nasa.gov/EDDOCS/Wavelengths_for_Colors.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC300804/

http://scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=532

http://www.deborahswallow.com/2010/02/20/meaning-of-colours-across-cultures/

http://www.sensationalcolor.com/color-meaning/color-meaning-symbolism-psychology/all-about-the-color-green-4309#.WOwWEhEizIU

http://www.theaa.com/newsroom/news-2013/aacars-most-popular-car-colours.html

http://www.monash.edu/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/216475/muarc263.pdf

http://auto.howstuffworks.com/auto-racing/nascar/history/green-cars-unlucky-in-nascar.htm

https://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/Choosing/colour-personality.htm

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/10767459/Seeing-red-The-mind-bending-power-of-colour.html

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es301685g

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es305019p

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S027249440290232X

http://www.apa.org/monitor/apr01/greengood.aspx

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9450.2004.00419.x/full

https://adobe99u.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/2012_lichtenfeldetal_pspb.pdf

http://info.shiftelearning.com/blog/how-do-colors-influence-learning

http://europepmc.org/articles/PMC3743993

http://www.elledecor.com/design-decorate/color/news/a9392/pantone-color-of-the-year/

http://www.livescience.com/36735-does-the-color-green-boost-exercise-s-effects.html

http://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/38646306/colorassociation-students.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAIWOWYYGZ2Y53UL3A&Expires=1492521099&Signature=WSQk7oGC%2Bx3EXuh10Kq9silRNig%3D&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DRELATIONSHIP_BETWEEN_COLOR_AND_EMOTION_A.pdf

http://freshome.com/2010/09/08/20-ways-to-use-color-psychology-in-your-home/

7 unexpected but brilliant ways crafting can make your life better

We all love making things, whether a gorgeous bracelet as a Birthday present for your sister, a model plane to take to the skies or a tiny knitted pair of bootees for your newborn but did you also know about the amazing benefits you are receiving just from stitching, knitting or painting something? From helping with depression and providing pain relief to making you happier, crafting has some seriously unexpected benefits.

  1.  It melts stress and helps alleviate depression

You probably already know this if you’re a crafter but doing any type of craft activity can help you unwind and relax. A sponsored study by Robert Reiner of the New York University psychiatry department found that when his patients took part in sewing activities their heart rate showed they relaxed. Other studies on depression reported that crafting releases dopamine – the hormone that helps you feel good. Professor Kelly Lambert, a former President of the International Behavioural Neuroscience Society, said that partaking in arts and crafts activities “bathes the brain in feel good chemicals” and can in some situations, be just as effective as taking prescription medication.

  1. It makes you happier and more positive

An online study published by the British Journal of Occupational Therapy found that after knitting, a huge 81% of people said they felt happier. Another study found that even just doing one creative thing a day can make you more positive. If you needed any more convincing, researchers at the University of Otago also found that when their test subjects did something creative daily there was a lasting positive trend of wellbeing and creativity in contrast to those who didn’t do anything creative.

  1. Reduces your chances of developing mild cognitive impairment by as much as 50%

Yes you read that right! One study found that creative activities such as craft reduce your chances of suffering from mild cognitive impairment by up to 50%. Another study from France also found that older people who did creative activities such as knitting are less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

  1. It can help you cope with pain

Crafting along with music has been found to be very effective at distracting from pain or nausea. This is because the mind is so focused on the pleasurable activity that it temporarily distracts from the pain.

  1. Social benefits

Loneliness is becoming an epidemic in our societies with 10% of older people saying they feel lonely some or most of the time, young people in their teens and twenties are also suffering from loneliness more than ever and an ONS report even found Britain to be the loneliest country in Europe! Craft offers a chance to connect with people over shared interests, whether in a weekly group or sharing knitting mishap stories over a cup of tea with a friend. It is something that everyone can take part in and often doesn’t cost very much to do.

  1. Stops you worrying about your mortality

Yes, if you often worry about your own death then crafting can help. A study found that those people who did more creative activities regularly felt less apprehensive about their own death than those who didn’t.

  1. In the flow – it can transport you into a zen like state

Last but not least – both Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book “Creativity: Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention” and the psychologist Claudia Hammond say that when people are in the “Flow” of creativity, this state of flow helps time pass by without you noticing meaning your cares and woes are easily forgotten for that period of time and you are focused purely on your task.

So the next time you sew, stitch, felt or knit, you can bask in the knowledge that you are also benefiting from some pretty amazing side-effects.  

By Becky Woolley

Some links to the studies and other articles of interest if you would like to read more:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21677242

http://www.marthastewart.com/1083369/knit-day-keeps-doctor-away-health-benefits-crafting

https://www.cgu.edu/people/mihaly-csikszentmihalyi/

http://www.claudiahammond.com/

http://www.countryliving.com/life/a4926/brain-crafting-benefits/

http://serenityyou.com/2013/01/the-surprising-health-benefits-of-arts-and-crafts-activities-guest-post.html

http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/health-therapeutic

http://www.campaigntoendloneliness.org/loneliness-research/

http://www.thesewingdirectory.co.uk/why-sewing-is-so-good-for-us/

https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=85&ContentID=p07184

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/arts-and-health/201612/creativity-and-emotional-well-being-recent-research

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jocb.171/full

 

A bit about Cre8kits

Cre8kits is an independent online shop providing craft kits for easy, time saving and gorgeous creations. For all ages, both individuals and groups.

You can keep in touch with Cre8kits and our blog posts by signing up to our newsletter on our website http://www.cre8kits.co.uk or via Facebook, twitter and Pinterest.

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