What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word psychology? You might think it has got something to do with “behavior” and it is quite correct too! Psychology is basically the science of behavior. Activities like thinking, reasoning, intelligence, memory all are exclusively a part of behavior so this subject is not limited to humans only and it also includes animals. Basically, psychology deals with the manner of conducting oneself which includes all living beings. It has got all the qualities of science. Also, the psychologists (people who study both physical and mental behavioral states of a human) conduct experiments, observe and note all the data just like any other scientific experiment. Till now, numerous researches and different theories have tried to explain various types of behaviors. Hence this subject is also termed as the “study of mind.”
Study of the mind
The mind is a multi-layered, complicated structure that is quite difficult to read and understand. And when one doesn’t understand something it often ends up creating confusion which in turn leads to some minor as well as major issues termed as “psychological issues”. The thoughts which your mind permanently contains, simply seeing cannot help you read them. Mostly, all theories made by psychologists are a result of careful observation based on the normal behavior of a being. There are many branches in this field that depend on basic factors like emotional response, adjustment ability or disability, pleasure or discomfort and many more. Some examples of such branches are clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, evolutionary psychology etc. Each branch of psychology serves its unique purpose.
Clinical psychology includes scientific reasoning, theoretical answers, and requires a lot of practice in order to understand the problem, predict and find the solution with adjustment in intellectual, emotional, biological, psychological, social, and behavioral aspects of human performance throughout a person’s life. You could be suffering from a psychological issue and even then be unable to understand the real cause of it. A clinical psychologist is perfect for this role. He or she needs to understand the root of the problem and find a solution for the same.
Cognitive psychologists have got the job of investigating the most basic mental processes. These include problem solving ability, memory, learning skills, and language communication. This type of psychology usually tries to understand how people think and perceive information, their communication ability, their memory power and learning capability. It is closely related to neuroscience, philosophy, and linguistics. Cognitive psychologist’s job is to look at each step on how people acquire, process, and save information. Normally the applications that you apply daily include tips on how to improve your memory and increase the accuracy of your decision-making ability.
This is the scientific study of regular psychological changes that one experiences over their life span, often heard as human development. It focuses not only on kids and teenagers but also adults and older people. The factors on which psychologists specializing in developmental psychology include motor(driving) skills, problem solving intelligence, moral understanding, grasping language and emotions, developing personality, self-concept, and identity formation.
Another psychological process of consciously bringing the attention to experiences occurring in the immediate moment without any judgment. This you can develop through the practice of meditation, mindful yoga and other such training which collectively fall under mindfulness. Mindfulness is nothing but an attribute of the consciousness that can very well promote well-being. You must have always heard the importance of spiritual, philosophical and psychological traditions for the maintenance of the mental health.
Despite this many people tend to overlook the importance of consciousness. Clinical psychology and psychiatry since a long time ago have developed a number of beneficial applications. These focus on mindfulness in order to help people who have been experiencing a variety of psychological conditions. Mindfulness practice works to reduce symptoms of depression, panic attacks, stress, anxiety issues and in the treatment of drug addiction. Not only the psychologists but also theorists from various schools of personality and psychotherapy have often appreciated the practice of mindfulness.
Difference between awareness and attention
Even though awareness and attention at present events and experiences are the features of a human organism, these qualities do vary considerably most of the times, from intense states of clarity and sensitivity to low levels, as in habitual, involuntary, thoughtless or blunted thought action. Such attributes describe a lot about the mindfulness of a person. Mindfulness practice has been showing constantly reducing reports of depression, anxiety as well as stress.
In one’s life a person often suffers from bouts of doubts about themselves. Haven’t you ever felt like you are suffering from low self esteem or out of love at least once until this day? These feelings are quite normal and don’t usually mean anything serious until such feelings keep reoccurring. You can quite commonly experience such feelings and they explain quite a lot about your psychological well being than you can probably imagine.
Dealing with low self esteem
Reoccurrence of low self esteem issues need to be treated before they turn into something more serious. When someone tells you that you need a higher self esteem in order to be psychologically fit is almost like saying that you need to push others down so you can climb higher which is just not right! High self esteem is closely correlated with narcissism or the “I am superior” sort of feeling.
A feeling quite similar to yet so different to high self esteem is self compassion. It is a generous and nurturing attitude towards yourself when situations that threaten your adequacy or situations that are difficult to handle arise. It is also important to realize that being imperfect is also part of being human. Kindness is the tendency of being caring and understanding with everyone rather than being harsh or judgmental about anyone’s problems. Instead of taking a cold approach in times of suffering-kindness more importantly self kindness offers reassuring and calming comfort to the self.
Humanity means recognizing that all humans are imperfect. They fail and often make mistakes. Sometimes big, sometimes trivial but being kind and compassionate towards everyone is what matters at the end. It connects your own faulty condition to the shared human condition so that greater perspective is taken towards individual shortcomings and difficulties. Self compassion involves being aware of your present moment in a balanced manner. This is so that no one ignores or becomes oblivious to a person’s hardship. Being empathetic and sensitive towards everyone surrounding you is an important aspect of leading a better life with positive outlook towards issues.
Emotional well being of adolescents
Adolescents confront with many stressors of life. In this high pressured life and competition driven society adolescents and younger people tend to feel stressed and quite negative towards various outcomes. Whether it is failing an exam or difficulty in handling peer pressure some students tend to recover quickly whereas some need time to handle such situations. Cortisol is a hormone that increases blood sugar levels and memory function.
It helps to provide a boost to physical and cognitive ability for a short period of time. Although it looks like it helps a student in handling stress that is quite not true. High levels of cortisol can cause impair in brain functioning. And it might also suppress the immune system which leads to long-term damage. A quick session to a well trained psychologists help a lot. Yoga, meditation and other such practices have proven to be helpful in dealing with stress and depression.
Psychology and treatment of mental health
To sum it all, psychology has been successfully proven in treating mental issues. Psychologists are constantly searching for different methods in treating problems in a friendly way. Making adjustments to the inner and outer demands of the body is an ongoing process. Therefore, psychologists aim at the study of living being’s attempt to adjust themselves to the varying conditions both within themselves and in their surroundings. The psychologists have been engaged in investigating problems like school curriculum, traffic safety, industrialization, physical education etc. So it is fair to say that psychology has touched several facets of human beings both in theoretical and practical aspect.
Ultimately it is you who has to validate yourself. Hence, self-acceptance and being kind to your own self is necessary. Self care is an underrated concept. A lot of people go through stress and mental issues. But instead of taking care of themselves, they just get used to it. They don’t even try to cope up with their issues which leads to chronic effects and disorders. Higher self-compassion has predicted greater reduction in depressive symptoms. It is also known to solve majority of psychological problems so always be compassionate and kind on yourself. And don’t beat yourself too much if you have made any mistakes. Anyone might need some help to deal with things when it gets difficult. So never feel shy in saying that you need help. And don’t forget that psychological well being leads to reduced anxiety, low stress levels and “bad mood”.