Color Breathing: A Stress Reducing Activity

Color Breathing invites you to combine the relaxing power of breathing with the effects of chromotherapy. It's a valuable tool for reducing stress.
Color Breathing: A Stress Reducing Activity
Elena Sanz

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

You’ve probably heard of meditation, mindfulness, and other similar practices, even though you may not necessarily know how to apply them in your everyday life. As a matter of fact, there’s so much information and different stress-reducing options available, it’s easy to feel rather overwhelmed and not know where to start. For this reason, we want to propose a simple and effective technique that you’ll probably like. It’s color breathing.

This technique combines the relaxing power of deep breathing with the benefits of color therapy. Thus, it helps you relieve stress, achieve states of comfort and well-being, and regulate your emotions. In addition, it’s an easy tool to implement. It can also be used in conjunction with other types of psychological or pharmacological treatments without any adverse effects.

Woman with eyes closed
Color breathing helps you relieve stress and find peace.

Color breathing

Before explaining the benefits of this technique, it’s important to know what it consists of. It’s a relaxation exercise that, as we mentioned earlier, combines deep breathing and color therapy.

Breathing as a means of regulating arousal has been known and tested (with excellent results) for decades. Although there are different variants, the common goal of all of them is to achieve deep and slow diaphragmatic breathing.

In your daily life (normally governed by stress), you usually take short and shallow breaths. These don’t help you to dissipate your feelings of anxiety. On the other hand, when you breathe more slowly and deeply, you also help your body to relax. Therefore, through your breathing, you have the power to create a physiological state that’s incompatible with anxiety.

Color breathing combines these effects with those of chromotherapy. Based on the psychology of color, this therapy proposes using the properties of each color tone to induce certain sensations, emotions, or behaviors.

Thus, by visualizing or imagining a color, by surrounding yourself with a physical environment that contains it or by wearing clothes of that tone, you can experience certain changes.

How to carry out color breathing

It’s a simple process, although it requires practice to fully experience its benefits. Keep in mind that, as with any new habit, your mind may resist at first. However, with regular application, it’ll soon become easier and more natural.

1. Choose the place

Find a quiet space where you can exercise without any distractions. Make sure no one is going to interrupt you for the next few minutes.

Preferably, choose a location where you feel safe and calm, with an orderly environment and a comfortable surface on which to rest.

2. Settle in

You should wear comfortable and loose clothing that doesn’t constrict your abdomen. Next, you can sit or lie on your back on an armchair or even on your bed. The most important thing is to keep your back straight.

The sitting position helps you not to fall asleep during the exercise. Nevertheless, some people find it easier to relax in a horizontal position, especially those with back pain or problems.

3. Start breathing properly

Once you’ve adopted the correct posture, close your eyes and begin to breathe slowly and deeply. Try to bring the air to the lower part of your lungs, so that it’s your abdomen (and not your chest) that rises and contracts with each breath.

Find a breathing rate that’s comfortable for you, but is slow. For example, you can take four seconds for each inhalation and four seconds for each exhalation.

4. Impregnate yourself with color

Choose a color that represents the emotions of tranquility, happiness, and well-being that you want to experience. You can help yourself by consulting the psychological definitions of each color. Alternatively, you can simply let yourself be carried away by your instinct.

Once chosen, visualize that this tone surrounds you completely and feel how, with each inhalation, it penetrates through your nostrils, bathing your interior, and impregnating you with pleasant sensations. As you exhale, imagine another color that represents your fears, anxieties, and anxieties, and visualize it leaving your body.

5. End the exercise

Continue this exercise for a few minutes. Gradually, you’ll feel how the first chosen color fills you completely, flooding you with positive emotions, without a trace of the stress you previously felt. To amplify this effect, you can visualize yourself encircled by a sphere of that color that expands more and more, also covering those who are in adjoining rooms, your city, even your country.

Finally, return to focusing on your breathing to finish the exercise. Begin to gently move your fingers, your head, and your limbs and, when you feel ready, open your eyes. You’ll feel completely renewed.

Woman with eyes closed
Choosing a color that conveys peace like blue will help you to find calm.

The benefits of color breathing

Much of the research on Color Breathing has focused on testing the effects of viewing the color green. That’s because this tone naturally induces states of relaxation, balance, and emotional calm. For example, one study tested the effect of this type of therapy on a group of institutionalized older adults. They were split into two groups. One group practiced color breathing for ten minutes a day for seven days, the other group didn’t. After this period, data was obtained indicating that stress reduction had been significantly higher in the first group.

Similar results were found in another investigation conducted with hemodialysis patients. Those who received color breathing therapy showed significant reductions in stress and emotional feelings of anger about their situation. Furthermore, they also obtained sensations of comfort, were able to better regulate their emotions, and their rest improved.

Color breathing is a simple and effective exercise that can help us achieve states of peace and well-being in different situations. It can be used by children, adults, and the elderly and, if practiced regularly, it offers really good results.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Devi, P. S., Sawitri, K. A., & Nurhesti, P. O. Y. (2012). Pengaruh Terapi Warna Hijau Terhadap Stres Pada Lansia di Panti Sosial Tresna Werdha Wana Seraya Denpasar. Denpasar: Fakultas Kedokteran Universitas Udayana.
  • Suli, D. P., Aini, N., & Prasetyo, Y. B. (2019). Pengaruh green color breathing therapy terhadap penurunan tingkat stres pada pasien hemodialisa. Jurnal Keperawatan2(2), 86-96.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.