The Color Blue and its Effect on Your Mind

The blue of the sea can reduce anxiety and depression. In fact, your brain becomes more balanced when you see this color.
The Color Blue and its Effect on Your Mind
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 15 November, 2021

The effect of the color blue on your brain is probably more significant than you realize. In fact, this color of our summer skies and seas is widely used in the field of advertising and marketing. Furthermore, it’s been proven that blue has a relaxing effect on the mind. It also improves your physical and psychological health.

Pablo Picasso used to say that colors are the reflection of our emotions imprinted on nature. He wasn’t wrong. In fact, every few years or so, the psychology of color comes up with some interesting data concerning the impact of color in our lives.

Andrew Elliot and Markus Maier’s studies are a benchmark in this field. They showed that color isn’t only a valuable communication tool. In fact, they claimed that some colors, like red and blue, can change your mood, raise or lower your blood pressure, change your metabolism, or even cause visual fatigue.

“There’s no blue without yellow and without orange.”

 -Vincent Van Gogh-

A painting of the sea and sky.

Blue changes the brain

There are approximately 11 shades of blue. Among them, you find Chagall blue and Vermeer blue. Yves Klein, an artist of the Neo-Dada movement, actually invented a shade of blue, which he patented as International Klein Blue. The most expensive blue of all time was ultramarine blue. This was because they originally made it from lapis lazuli.

The color blue has always fascinated the art community for one specific reason: the impact it has on us. For example, Wassily Kandinsky used to say that the deeper the blue on a canvas, the more it made the viewer think of infinity. Indeed, it does seem that the color blue provokes in us a strange kind of sense of purity and sensitivity.

However, what does science have to say on the subject? Does blue really alter mood?

The psychology of the color blue

Eva Heller has written one of the most interesting books on the impact of color. It’s called Psychology of Color: How Colors Work on Feelings and Reason. Thanks to her extensive studies, she drew the following conclusions about the color blue:

  • It’s the favorite color of the whole population.
  • People consider it a peaceful, relaxing, and non-threatening color.
  • The advertising world uses it extensively. This is because it makes the buyer feel calm, confident, and secure.
  • It can sometimes make people feel sad or estranged.
  • It’s used to decorate workspaces. According to several studies, it improves creativity and productivity.
The color blue.

The benefits of the color blue come from nature

In recent years, many scientific studies have been conducted concerning the psychology of color. In fact, researchers have discovered that the color blue can reduce the impact of depression. Psychologists Dr. Joanne K. Garrett and Dr. Matthew P. White from the University of Exeter Medical School conducted research in conjunction with several universities in Hong Kong. They concluded that:

  • People who frequently visited natural spaces where the blue light is more intense (seas, lakes, and rivers where the sky is reflected in the water, etc.) enjoyed better mental health.
  • Furthermore, depression rates are lower in people who frequently visit these kinds of places.

Other studies conducted by Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland yielded the same conclusions. In addition, their studies demonstrated sea views were associated with lower rates of depression in the elderly.

Another interesting fact is that stress and anxiety rates are reduced when we spend time with people we love in these open spaces where the color blue is present. For this reason, something as simple as a walk along the beach with your partner, children, or friends is an exercise as cathartic as it is beneficial.

A sea scene.


Rafael Alberti dedicated a poem to the color blue. In this poem, he praised the shade of the Mediterranean Sea. He described it as the same color that the Greeks adored and that the artists of the Middle Ages venerated. In fact, the divine color that they gave to the cloaks of their heavenly virgins.

The effects of the color blue are deep and evocative. Even our planet Earth, with its huge amount of water, plays a part. Because, when seen from a distance, and suspended in infinity, it resembles the cherished “pale blue dot” that Carl Sagan wrote about.

The color blue is cathartic, relaxing, and healthy. Embrace it, let its light caress you when you’re by the sea, lakes, and rivers.

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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.

  • Birren, Faber (1961) Color Psychology and Color Therapy: A Factual Study of the Influence of Color on Human Life. University Books.
  • Britton, E., Kindermann, G., Domegan, C. y Carlin, C. (2018). Blue care: una revisión sistemática de las intervenciones en el espacio azul para la salud y el bienestar. Promoción de la salud internacional . doi: 10.1093 / heapro / day103
  • Dempsey, S., Devine, MT, Gillespie, T., Lyons, S. y Nolan, A. (2018). Espacio azul costero y depresión en adultos mayores. Health & Place , 54 , 110-117. doi: 10.1016 / j.healthplace.2018.09.002
  • Elliot, A. J., & Maier, M. A. (2007). Color and psychological functioning. Current Directions in Psychological Science16(5), 250–254.
  • Elliot, A. J., & Maier, M. A. (2014). Color Psychology: Effects of Perceiving Color on Psychological Functioning in Humans. Annual Review of Psychology65(1), 95–120.
  • Heller, Eva (2004) Psicología del Color. Cómo actúan los colores sobre los sentimientos y la razón. Gustavo Gili SA Barcelona.

The contents of Exploring Your Mind are for informational and educational purposes only. They don't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment of a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.