A team of Sussex researchers has discovered that the colour blue, usually associated with bad feelings, can in fact boost happiness and confidence levels.

Researcher Duncan Smith found that those who were exposed to the colour had increased mental agility and even improved physical strength.

Participants were exposed to a range of colours and those who were exposed to more blue completed texts faster than their colleagues, and their reaction times were up to 12 % quicker too. Basic skills such as recalling words and hand-eye co-ordination were also noticeably better in the blue group. Sweat levels and heart rates were lower for those exposed to blue, suggesting that the colour makes us feel calmer.

The survey revealed the effects of a range of colours on a variety of tasks and emotions. The colour purple proved relaxing for women, while red boosted the male ego. Green makes men feel happier, while orange raises most women’s moods.

Since conducting the experiment, Duncan Smith has taken to wearing brightly coloured socks most days. He suggests that a bit of colour each day would do us good. “It might be that you put on a pair of red socks or wear that new lipstick or buy some pot plants.”

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