Awareness about mental health and its importance is increasing nowadays. We are getting more aware about various kinds of mental illness, their increasing prevalence, and various preventive measures & treatments for it. Increasing stress levels, work pressure, fast-paced lives are some reasons behind increasing mental issues. Sometimes this makes us think that our ancestors had to face less problems or they were living more relaxed lives. But that isn’t necessarily true. Our ancestors had similar levels of stress, pressure & other problems and they also had their own ways to deal with it. While we use various kinds of treatments, medicines and therapies to deal with our mental & physical problems; the ways our ancestors used were very simple yet filled with mindfulness.
Let’s uncover some colorful ways that we have been using for years but do not know the psychological importance of them.
The 1st way is the festival of colors i.e. Holi. As we all know holi is the festival that not only celebrates eternal love of radha-krishna but also celebrates victory of good over evil, victory of innocence over mindless ambition. Many moral lessons such as equality can also be learned from holi. Once all the people are drenched in various colors, the whole group becomes a strong unit bursting with positivity and joy.
Colors are of course one of the biggest and enjoyable aspects of holi. Playing holi itself emphasizes the importance of playfulness in life; something that we forget as we are getting older. Losing yourself in music, different colors, being with the people you love itself has a therapeutic value.
Let’s see how playing Holi can help us improve our mental health:
1. Decrease the feeling of loneliness:
Holi gives us an opportunity to interact. Conversing with your family, friends, and even with some strangers can be therapeutic. Speaking to your loved ones also helps you to vent out your negative emotions.
2. Act as a stress-buster:
Playing holi can act as a great stress-buster, as you take a break from your routine and forget your troubles & worries in the playful atmosphere and colors of Holi.
3. Improves mood:
The cheerful and colorful vibes of Holi definitely helps us to brighten up our mood. Happy atmosphere, many fun activities, and bright colors all help us to get relaxed and feel happier. Moreover there is a tradition to serve a lot of sweets in the festival of Holi. These sweets boost the secretion of happy chemicals in our brain.
4. Prompt bonding:
As Holi gives us all a chance to interact with our loved ones, it helps us to renew our bonding. Various fun activities promote teamwork and help team members to gel with each other.
5. Color therapy:
All the colors that we have around us have a therapeutic value. Colors have a deep psychological, emotional and physical impact on us. Every color is associated with different aspects of our lives, and has transformational ability in them. Nowadays playing Holi with artificial colors is very common but during ancient times holi colors were made with different kinds of herbs, spices, flowers etc. That’s why many biologists believe that holi is a way to treat yourself with color therapy. These organic colors enter the pores and strengthen our body ions.
Every color used in holi has a meaning and impacts our mood and emotions in different ways. For example,
The festival of Holi demarcates the beginning of spring and green is considered the first color of spring. It is also the color of new beginnings. Similarly, according to color psychology, itThe green color represents peace and serenity, nature, harmony and new growth. So we can say that playing holi with green color is a way of manifesting new beginnings in our life and it is also a gentle reminder that we should accept new things and change wholeheartedly.
The blue color is prominent in celebration of Holi as it is the color of god Krishna. It represents the infinite and immeasurable power of love and purity of one’s heart. It also represents the endlessness of the sea and sky. It is also linked to our intuition, along with a sense of reflection, serenity, and clarity.
You’ll find a deep, yellow-orange, known as saffron, prominent throughout Hinduism. Saffron is symbolic of purity, strength, courage and sacrifice. Both yellow and orange are mood-boosting and beneficial for our self-esteem. Yellow is the color of optimism, creativity and happiness, whereas orange is the color of adventure and the spark you have within yourself.
Color red symbolizes the life-cycle: fertility, marriage, and death. Red color is the symbol of warmth, passion, energy, power and courage. Red is the one color which represents many opposite emotions. For example, it represents the emotion of love, but is also a symbol of anger and hostility. But this can help us gain a different perspective. Next time if someone is throwing the color of their anger or hostility towards you, just remember that it is the same color that represents love and warmth and we should respond to that person’s anger with kindness only.
Light pink is nurturing and soft, symbolizing motherly love, whereas stronger pinks like magenta represent empowerment and strength. This color also symbolizes balance, creativity and imagination.
In short, we can say that colors of Holi together make a smile-bringing palette for us which brings liveliness, comfort, passion into our life.
The 2nd colorful way to improve our mental health is Rangoli. Most of us consider that rangoli is just a way of decorating our home at festival seasons. But rangoli is far more than just a piece of decoration. In ancient times, there was a tradition to draw rangoli every day. The reason behind it was along with decorating the home, drawing rangoli also implies a welcoming gesture.
Rangoli is often created during Diwali to welcome the goddess Laxmi, the goddess of prosperity. So, in a way, rangoli is drawn to welcome happiness, prosperity into our life. It tells us that we should always welcome positivity. Creating new and creative patterns of rangoli each day also helps to improve mood, lowering the stress and negative feeling and boost the secretion of dopamine in our brain. Creating something new has a similar calming effect on the mind as does meditation. It also helps us to focus our mind, increase our attention span, visuospatial processing and problem-solving abilities.
Drawing rangoli is itself an act of creativity. It helps us to express ourselves, puts us in a happy mood, and can help us to enjoy the flow state. Moreover, Rangoli along with welcoming gestures, teaches us acceptance too. It teaches us whatever comes in our life, whether it is good and bad, just accept those things and deal with them with kindness & courage. Because, you don’t know what colors life is going to throw at you but, if you know the art of creating rangoli out of them, your journey towards mindfulness has already begun.
Aren’t these two ways the most simple, colorful yet so much beneficial for our mental health? After all mental health is all about enjoying these little things, gaining a positive perspective about life and being mindful.
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