The Positive Benefits of Color: Orange

This is a part two of a series of posts looking at the different ways we can use color to positively benefit our lives.

Framed Daisies (detail) - Tricia GriffithOrange is another warm, energizing color. It is thought to combine the stimulating qualities of red with the more cheerful energy of yellow, which we’ll discuss next time. It is linked to the sacral chakra, another of what is believed to be the centers of vital energy in our body. This chakra is located in the lower abdomen, and is related to the organs in that area, including the uterus, ovaries, prostate and testes.

Physically, the color orange stimulates and energizes us. It is believed to stimulate the lungs, respiration and digestion, as well as increase the activity of the thyroid. Like red, many restaurants use orange, or more subtle shades of orange, such as peach, to stimulate the appetite. Orange colored foods provide beta carotene, vitamins and nutrients which help improve the immune system, protect heart and vision, and may play an important role in preventing certain cancers.

Staring into the Sun - Tricia GriffithEmotionally and mentally, orange projects warmth and happiness, it is associated with fun and sociability, and inspires creativity. It is believed to release constrictions of both the mind and body, open your mind to new ideas and boost enthusiasm. It’s related to gut instinct, as opposed to mental or physical reaction. It’s association with the sacral chakra may also make it helpful in dealing with sexual expression.

Many people are averse to the color orange, it’s often considered one of the least popular colors. If you’re not a fan of orange, ask yourself what aspects of orange do you perhaps have a personal struggle with, and apply orange in some form to that part of your life.

Like red, you can incorporate orange into your life as simply as eating or drinking things that are orange. In fact, so many orange foods are so good for us, like carrots and oranges. You can use orange to decorate a room like studio or craft room to inspire creativity, but you want to avoid using it in rooms where there is possible stress.

Monarch Butterfly - Tricia GriffithVisualize orange light when meditating or healing, on the areas of your body or your life where you think they most need it. Keep an orange light or light filter so that you can sit directly in the light if you feel you need it. Find a cheery orange blanket to wrap yourself in on days when you need that boost of cheerfulness or creativity.

It takes a certain personality type to wear a lot of orange, but adding orange accessories may help boost your mood. Jewelry or gemstones such as citrine, coral, amber, sunstone, carnelian, topaz, and certain agates and opals worn or carried in your pocket and bring a little of that orange energy into your life.

As with anything like this, it’s not just what people and books or websites tell you to believe, it’s what you believe. What feelings or thoughts does the color orange invoke for you? Does it bring up a particular memory? How does it affect you? You should always trust your own intuition about what’s best for you.

Sunflower - Tricia GriffithJust I mentioned with red, there’s nothing that says you have to work with orange if you can’t stand it. The added benefit of orange being a secondary color is that you could possibly achieve the same effects by using a bit of red and yellow if you like those colors better. These pages are certainly not everyone’s truth, just a bit of guidance to get you going in the direction you need to go.

And please, as always, if you have serious physical or mental health problems, talk to a professional. Take care of yourself.


The Positive Benefits of Color: Red

This is a part of a series of posts looking at the different ways we can use color to positively benefit our lives.

Daisies - Tricia GriffithRed is a warm, bright, energizing color, often associated with love, warmth and comfort. It is linked to the root chakra, which is believed to be one of the centers of life force, or vital energy, in the body. This chakra is located at the base of the spine.

Physically, the color red is believed to increase energy and revitalize you when you are feeling run down. It has been shown to increase blood pressure and is generally believed to have positive healing effects on blood related health issues. It stimulates appetite and has been used by many chain restaurants in its advertising (think McDonalds, Pizza Hut, KFC and Wendy’s).

Emotionally and mentally, red gives courage and strength. It can improve your assertiveness and confidence, build strength and courage, increase passion and sexuality. It evokes strong emotions, and when over-exposed to red, it is possible to become over stimulated and even agitated, irritable.

Filigree Heart - Tricia GriffithHow can you use red in your day to day life? Any way, really. You can wear it, eat it, drink it, paint with it, just about any way you can think to incorporate the color into your life. Visualize what you expect to achieve as you use the color.

In a situation where you need to boost your confidence and courage, you might want to consider wearing something red, even if it’s a red tie or scarf. You can add something discreet underneath, if you need to wear darker clothing.

You can carry red items with you for their effect and comforting presence. Jewelry or gemstones such as ruby, garnet, beryl, red jasper, red tourmaline or red sapphires used in a jewelry setting or rough cut stones can add a little bit of red to your life.

Molten - Tricia GriffithIf you need a more enveloping effect of red, you can wrap yourself in a red blanket or bask in a red light for its healing effect. Using red in the dining area can help stimulate appetite, which might help if you’ve got a picky eater in your home. Adding red to a work space or creative space can help keep you energize and creative.

Additionally you can simply use visualization to work with the color. Close your eyes and picture yourself surrounded in red light, direct it to any problem areas, or imagine it filtering into areas of your life where it is needed most.

Along with everything listed here and all the other things about the color red you might read elsewhere, one of the most important things to consider is how the color affects you, personally. What feelings, emotions or ideas does it represent to you? Trust your own intuition about the use of color in your life.

Beaver Lake Sunset - Tricia GriffithThere is nothing that says if you can’t stand the color, you need to use it. You can likely find the same type of energy, influence and inspiration from another color, or even a favorite piece of music. These are just some ideas to get you started, and of course if you have serious health issues, you should always consult your doctor.

I Feel Your Pain: All About Empathy

Water LilyEmpathy is defined as identifying or vicariously experiencing the thoughts, feelings and attitudes of another. It is sometimes confused with sympathy, which is more of a feeling of compassion, particularly towards someone in sorrow or trouble. In a sense you need some degree of empathy in order to feel the compassion or sympathy. Of course there are instances where empathy is ignored, suppressed or maybe even missing altogether, in some people, particularly those with certain mental disorders.

It’s recognizing and responding to emotions that make us human; makes us a little bit easier to live with. Maybe even makes it possible to create a society, live in a community.

Some people take this natural empathy and kick it up a notch. They are acutely aware of the emotions around them, oftentimes without really realizing that is what is happening. They may experience these emotions and believe they are their own, or feel responsible for them. These people are known as empaths; also sometimes referred to as psychic empaths or intuitive empaths.

Dr. Judith Orloff, assistant clinical professor of Psychiatry at UCLA, wrote an article on her site that I found compelling and kind of brought me back to the roots of my own life as an empath. Her article, Are You An Emotional Empath? helps empaths recognize their own traits and gives a wonderful list of suggestions for dealing with the effects.

Here is an excerpt; the quiz that she shares on determining if you are an emotional empath:


Ask yourself:

  • Have I been labeled as “too emotional” or overly sensitive?
  • If a friend is distraught, do I start feeling it too?
  • Are my feelings easily hurt?
  • Am I emotionally drained by crowds, require time alone to revive?
  • Do my nerves get frayed by noise, smells, or excessive talk?
  • Do I prefer taking my own car places so that I can leave when I please?
  • Do I overeat to cope with emotional stress?
  • Am I afraid of becoming engulfed by intimate relationships?

If you answer “yes” to 1-3 of these questions, you’re at least part empath. Responding “yes” to more than 3 indicates that you’ve found your emotional type.

Recognizing that you’re an empath is the first step in taking charge of your emotions instead of constantly drowning in them. Staying on top of empathy will improve your self-care and relationships.

I have to admit that even the things on that list I might answer no to right now, Deer Creek SunsetI have experienced at least a few times in my life. Looking back, I know that I grew up an empath. At least I can most see it in my teenage years, when you’re already dealing with hormones and your sense of identity and self-esteem. It’s a classic case of I wish I knew then what I know now, and even now, I find that I need a reminder.

I have struggled with this for as far back as I can recall. Mostly I remember it as feeling very strongly when someone was sad or angry. My brain translates that into something that I am somehow responsible for. I think that it varies on whether I would feel as though I somehow caused the emotion, or was supposed to somehow be responsible for resolving the emotion.

It can be overwhelming, even painful, not understanding where it’s coming from or how to manage it. Or maybe forgetting to manage it, as in my case.

Elise Lebeau has an interesting website that chronicles her experiences growing up an empath as well as going into all kinds of technical details about the physiology of thought and how we send and receive information. In summarizing how this works with empathy she says;

Let’s take an example to make this more concrete: When someone is angry, there’s all kind of electrical and chemical reactions happening in their body (sweating, getting flustered, faster heart beat). All these changes trigger mild electrical currents that create a magnetic field around their physical body.

As an Empath, you are able to scan this magnetic information to “read” their state of mind: this person is angry. Although the pattern changes from one person to the next, Empaths are able to interpret it and translate it…

Although we are all born Empaths, most of us learn to ignore the information we pick up from other people through their magnetic field. And there’s a very good reason for that…imagine for a moment: every thought, every emotion, from every one on earth is currently generating magnetic information.

As an Empath, you can pick up on all of this! The sheer volume of information is staggering.

cotton grassExperiencing this unchecked for long periods of time, even years, is not without its side effects. It can be the source of unexplained fatigue, mood swings, depression. If you are unaware you are picking up everyone else’s negative emotional baggage, it can build up to the point of causing physical symptoms, from blockages in the flow of energy in your body to physical pain and disease.

On the positive side, it has the potential to be a wonderful gift. If you can understand that what you are perceiving is not your own, not your responsibility, you can take steps to protect yourself and learn how to use it productively. Many empaths are drawn to healing, healthcare and counseling. It can be a positive tool in psychic and spiritual counseling; helping others see the source of their pain, helping them sort out conflicting emotions.

It wasn’t until I went to college and met my friend and teacher Ruthanne Marble, that I began to see what was going on with me. I understood by that point the term empath. In my years of practicing psychically, being an empath has helped me to see where people are coming from. I have always been a good listener, people confide in me. I am drawn to people who are in trouble.

Then I entered a period of a lot of personal trial. Beginning with the impact of a move to another state and a demanding job, then escalating with the addition of my husband’s mental health breakdown and diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, three miscarriages and all the baggage that entails. wooden stairsFor a time it was a struggle to get out of bed some days. And while I am excellent at talking with other people about their problems, I am horrible about talking about my own.

For two years I did very little psychic work, healing or counseling. I realize now that you get what you give, and that for me that is sort of an outlet. While this was all going on, I wasn’t paying attention to the fact that I was pretty much just getting pummeled with emotions. From my own, to my husband’s to the stress and emotions from work and my coworkers. I was not protecting myself and it was catching up with me.

I didn’t recognize this really, until I was inspired to write this post.

One of the side effects that comes up when one researches empaths is the feeling of having the weight of the world on your shoulders. The combination of all of it was taking it’s physical toll on me. Dr. Orloff writes:

The trademark of empaths is that they know where you’re coming from. Some can do this without taking on people’s feelings. However, for better or worse, others, like myself and many of my patients, can become angst-sucking sponges. This often overrides the sublime capacity to absorb positive emotions and all that is beautiful. If empaths are around peace and love, their bodies assimilate these and flourish…

Negativity, though, often feels assaultive, exhausting…

As a subconscious defense, they may gain weight as a buffer…  (hmm really??)

When empaths absorb the impact of stressful emotions, it can trigger panic attacks, depression, food, sex and drug binges, and a plethora of physical symptoms that defy traditional medical diagnosis from fatigue to agoraphobia.

Beaver Lake SunsetThe good news is, empaths don’t have to walk around in a cloud of everyone else’s emotions every day of their lives. Like any gift, it can be controlled. Empaths can learn to recognize what they are feeling is not their own. They can learn to protect themselves.

If you think that you fit this description, you can learn how to control and work with your empathic abilities. If you can find a spiritual teacher, that is a good place to start. Finding someone who can help you clear and balance your energy and learn to shield yourself will make a world of difference in how you feel.

Elise Lebeau’s site offers an Empath Survival Program with a series of tools, techniques and visualizations for learning to “dial down” the emotions and becoming a functioning empath. Dr. Orloff’s site offers techniques for centering yourself and finding balance in the types of situations you find overwhelming. Lisa Campion is a psychic, spiritual counselor and energy healer whose site has great information on visualization techniques for cleansing your energy, shielding yourself and grounding.

PoppyLearning to recognize and work with empathic abilities means you don’t have to feel like you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.  Suddenly that inexplicable feeling of sadness actually has an explanation, and a resolution. If you are looking for someone to talk to about empathy, trust your intuition, for several reasons. As always, the internet is just as full of useless or even harmful information as it is beneficial.

It is important to understand that while there are many wonderful light workers out there, there are also well meaning people who do not really understand what they are doing. There are also, unfortunately, unscrupulous people who are not keeping your best interest at heart. Lastly, it is possible for some of the symptoms associated with being an empath to be related to other mental health concerns. If your thoughts and feelings are concerning or frightening you, please seek professional assistance.

If you would like to talk with me about being empathic, please feel free to contact me. I’m happy to commiserate, discuss techniques for working with it, or help you find a spiritual teacher near you.