How Holi affects our mood and mental health, the science behind Holi colors

Vijay GarG *

Hold on to your water guns and get ready to throw some colours because it's time to talk about the science behind HOLI ! For those who don't know, Holi is the Indian festival of colours where people get together to smear each other with all sorts of pigments and celebrate the victory of good over evil.

But have you ever wondered why Holi makes us feel so darn good ? Is it the colours ? The music ? The dance moves ? Or maybe just the fact that we get to pelt our friends with water balloons without getting in trouble ?

In this blog, we'll be taking a critical and informative look at how the science behind Holi affects our mental health and why it's essential to use natural colours. So, put on your goggles, cover your hair with a scarf, and get ready to find out why Holi is more than just a colourful bliss.

How HOLI affects our mood & mental health

Holi is a festival celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm and zeal. It is a time when people forget all their differences and come together to celebrate the victory of good over evil. This festival not only brings people closer but also has a significant impact on our mood and mental health. Let's take a look at how Holi affects our minds and why it is good for our mental well-being.

1. Colours : The colours used during Holi have a profound impact on our mood. Colours are known to influence our emotions, and the bright and vibrant colours used during Holi can evoke positive emotions such as happiness, excitement, and enthusiasm. They also have a therapeutic effect (stimulating the release of dopamine) on our minds and help us feel rejuvenated and refreshed.

2. Music: Music is an essential part of Holi celebrations. The beats and rhythm of the music can instantly lift our mood, making us feel happy and energetic. It also has a calming effect on our minds and can help us relax & de-stress.

3. Social connections: Holi is a time when people come together to celebrate and have fun. The social connections we make during this festival can positively impact our mental health. It helps us build relationships and strengthen bonds with our friends and family, which can give us a sense of belonging and reduce feelings of loneliness as well as isolation.

4. Playfulness: Holi is a festival that encourages playfulness and childlike behaviour. Playing with water & colours and indulging in fun activities can help us let go of our inhibitions and enjoy the moment. This playful attitude can affect our mental health positively and help us feel more carefree and relaxed.

In addition to these scientific explanations, Holi also has a cultural significance. It celebrates the triumph of goodness, promoting unity and harmony among people of different backgrounds and beliefs. This cultural aspect of Holi can have a positive impact on our mental well-being by promoting a sense of community and connection.

Benefits of using natural colour

Let me paint you a picture, my friends. Imagine playing Holi with artificial colours that not only leave you with stains but also cause skin irritations and rashes. Now, imagine playing Holi with natural colours that not only give you vibrant hues but also have numerous benefits for your skin and hair. That sounds like a no-brainer, right ?

Using natural colours in Holi is not just an eco-friendly choice, it's also a beneficial one. Natural colours are made from organic ingredients like flowers, herbs, and fruits, which have a soothing and nourishing effect on our skin and hair. They also have therapeutic properties that can help calm and relax our minds.

So, not only will you have a blast playing Holi, but you'll also come out of it looking and feeling rejuvenated. Plus, you'll be doing your bit for the environment by opting for natural colours. So, let's embrace the natural side of Holi and colour the town red, green, yellow, and pink with natural colours!

How to make plant-based natural colours

Making plant-based natural colours for Holi is a fun and creative process, and it's super easy to do! Here's a quick guide on how to make your own natural colours:

Green colour : Grind dried Gulmohur leaves, spinach leaves, or pine needles into a fine powder.

Yellow colour: Mix turmeric powder or gram flour with water to form a paste. You can also use dried marigold or sunflower petals, which can be powdered and mixed with water.

Red colour : Pomegranate, the bark of crab apple trees, and Red Sandalwood Powder can be used to extract out rich red colour. You can also use hibiscus flowers which can be ground into a fine powder and mixed with water.

Saffron colour : Soak the flowers of the Tesu tree in water overnight. The resulting water will have a beautiful saffron colour.

Blue colour : Soak indigo leaves in water overnight. Alternatively, you can use blue hibiscus flowers or jacaranda flowers, which can be ground into a fine powder and mixed with water.

Purple colour: Boil beetroot in water until the colour is extracted. You can also use purple grapes or blueberries, which can be mashed and mixed with water.

Brown colour: Mix dried tea leaves with water to form a paste. You can also use Katha, which is a natural plant extract that gives a brown colour.

Different Holi colours in different bowls with spoons

Don't let toxic synthetic colours ruin your Holi fun! Herbal colours are scarce but worth the extra cost to protect your skin, hair, and health. Cheap synthetic colours contain lead oxide, diesel, and other harmful chemicals that cause rashes, allergies, and even acute skin diseases. Moreover, everyone else uses them too, so you're not avoiding the risks. So, go green and get creative with your natural plant-based colours this Holi, and have a blast!

Pieces of advice to keep in mind!

Alright, folks, listen up! It's that time of the year again when we go crazy with colours and drench each other with water. That's right, it's Holi time ! But before you dive headfirst into the festivities, let's go over some tips to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable Holi experience.

First things first, put on some old clothes you don't mind getting ruined. Trust me, that Gucci shirt you've been eyeing is not Holi-proof.

Next up, slather on some coconut oil or petroleum jelly all over your skin. It will make it harder for the colours to stick to your skin and will also help prevent skin irritation.

Don't forget to wear some old shoes or flip-flops because the last thing you want is to ruin your new Nikes in a puddle of coloured water.

Lastly, if you have long hair, tie it up in a bun or braid it to avoid a tangled mess. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, you can always go bald like Britney Spears.

Bottom line

In conclusion, Holi is more than just a festival of colours; it is a celebration of life and a time to connect with our inner child. The colours, music, social connections, and playfulness of this festival can have a significant impact on our mood and mental health. So, go ahead and embrace the festive spirit of Holi to experience the joy and positivity it brings.

* Vijay GarG wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is retired Principal and educational columnist
This article was webcasted on March 24 2024.

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