Of Light, Sound, Colour And Stress

Updated: Nov 9 2003, 05:30am hrs
Stress manifests itself as a self-destructive habit, a short temper, a physical condition, or a general feeling of unhappiness. During the course of my research and consultations, I have come to identify a few common reasons that cause the tension that leads to stress. These are relationship problems, unrealistically high expectations, too busy lives or deprivation.

Given below are a few simple yet effective suggestions, which will support you in your efforts to reduce stress.


Research has shown that colour on one hand can effectively reduce frenzy or on the other actually cause tension.

Suggested Action: To reduce frenzy, paint or effectively introduce a shade of salmon in the room you sit in or use for the longest period. This will help you relax.

Use pink or salmon table mats, a centrepiece or flowers on the dining table; the family will argue less at the dining table.

Colours to avoid when stressed are a combination of red and green. In the forces of nature, red represents the fire element, volatile, explosive and potentially threatening, while green represents and stimulates growth and change.

The combination of the two can convey and evoke continued excitement, action and reaction, which is the last thing you need when the purpose is to bring about a sense of calm. Should these colours exist in a room by way of upholstery, you can diffuse the tension by introducing the colour yellow, which represents the earth element and has a grounding effect. Besides, it counteracts the intensity by conveying the message of enlightenment and optimism.


Ceiling lights that are too bright or spread a diffused yet bright light replicating daytime actually depresses our ability to relax.

Suggested Action: Focus bright lights on to some pleasing objects or paintings. Use individual incandescent lights, preferably table or pedestal lamps. Ideally, a lamp that throws a cone of light will have an uplifting effect.


All shapes take on a personality of the forms they are connected with in nature. However, different emotional states react to shapes and colours in different ways. Consider the shape of a flamea triangle. When you are depressed, this shape spurs you into action, but when you are stressed, you are likely to experience the challenging side of the shape.

Triangles, pyramids, diamonds and chevrons are all unsettling shapes, best avoided when stressed.

Suggested Action: Remove paintings or objects that have sharp angles or points.


To subdue the feelings of frenzy, it is important to be surrounded with what we in feng shui refer to as a yin state, which produces a stillness and sense of serenity, like entering a mandir, gurudwara or church, or even a museum or art gallery, for that matter.

Yin spaces are calm and peaceful and encourage you to unwind and mellow down.

Suggested Action: Create a yin ambience in spaces you use most frequently. The kitchen should have concealed lighting under cabinets and not overhead. Also avoid shiny counter tops here.

In the bedroom, use pastel yin shades both for the walls and the bed linen and surround yourself with pleasing, calm pictures.

In the living room, place a lace mat on the glass table top to reduce the reflecting surface. Use diffused lighting from table and pedestal lamps and avoid overhead halogen lamps.


While scent, like colour and shape, has some generic qualities, it is important to consider your own personal experience with a particular scent. Lavender is overall the best scent to promote peacefulness.

Suggested Action: Use a scent dispenser when you wake up in the morning. The day will start on an easy and relaxed note. Late in the afternoon, use a drop of lavender oil at the tip of your nose or a lavender potpourri to relieve the tiredness and onset of tension by the fag end of the working day. In the evening, light a lavender fragrance candle in the living room or bedroom.

Of course, nothing like taking a relaxed bath using a lavender soap before calling it a day.


Research has shown that a consistent even beat helps one feel grounded and centred.

Suggested Action: Place a ticking clock where it can be heard throughout the home. Besides, place a water feature that has the sound of water flowing softly.

Select the music of your choice, one with a rhythmic beat, to relax with.