6 Things I Learned from Studying Psychology
Updated: Jul 15, 2022
I have studied psychology for almost 10 years now (adding together my undergraduate and PhD studies). Those who know me well understand that this is a subject that I am deeply passionate about that is a core part of my identity. Therefore, it has been particularly challenging for me to think of the most important things I've learned (I am still learning more each day!!!).
In this article, I have compiled a list of the six most important things I learned from studying psychology that has proven to be the most influential in my daily life thus far (I will likely add to this list over time....):
💡 A greater understanding of myself
I've learned a lot about myself and my personality traits over the years by immersing myself in the study of psychology (interests, values, personality, etc.). Psychological assessments have helped me identify my fundamental beliefs, occupational interests, and personality traits so that I can take advantage of my strengths and work on my weaknesses to become a better version of myself. A better knowledge of myself has helped me make better decisions about everything from what I should study in graduate school to what career I should pursue and even whom I should befriend.
💡 Improved understanding of others
I've leaned that we are all somewhat different because of our natural biological and physical characteristics, as well as our unique experiences in life. In particular, we differ in terms of our psychological variables, such as our interests, cognitive ability, personality, life values, which means we think and act differently even under the same circumstances. This has made me less judgmental and more understanding of others, which has helped me strengthen my relationships and avoid interpersonal conflicts.
💡 Better able to predict others' behavior
Having knowledge of different psychological characteristics (interests, values, personality, etc.), I am able to quickly pick up on information from people's behaviors that may indicate certain levels of certain traits (e.g. extraversion, agreeableness). Having this rough idea about their traits, coupled with my knowledge of how people with certain traits tend to act, I'm able to better predict their behavior going forward. As you can imagine, this has been very useful in managing all kinds of relationships.
💡 Prevent psychological disorders
I'm more aware of my emotions at any given time because I've studied psychology. I'm also able to spot early signals of prospective psychological problems (e.g. anxiety and depression) because I'm familiar with typical symptoms of these disorders. This means I can intervene early and prevent it from developing into a disorder. For example, knowing that I was suffering from symptoms of burnout at one point in my career, I quickly realized that I needed to make a change so that burnout will not turn into a more serious condition like depression.
💡 More in control of my psychological health
I often find myself acting as my own therapist since I am well-versed in stress and anxiety management. I love to experiment with different techniques to manage my psychological well-being. For example, breathing techniques, seeking emotional support, and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) are just few of the methods I have used to manage my anxiety. I feel more in control of my mental health since I know that I have a variety of tools at my disposal.
💡 Help others maintain their psychological health
Knowing I study psychology, many of my loved ones often turn to me for guidance on a variety of topics. Although I didn't do my PhD in counseling/clinical psychology, my expertise in individual differences and well-being, coupled with my basic knowledge in CBT has been useful in providing some guidance to mitigate their problems or at least point them to the right resources for more professional help. I found one of the most helpful ways to start is to give a name to their condition so that they feel more in control and that they are not alone in their feelings and experiences.
I am eternally grateful for having studied psychology. It allowed me to have a more comprehensive and deeper than usual understanding of myself that has helped me clarify how I want to live my life and enabled me to continually thrive in all aspects of my life. It has also allowed me to better connect with others' perspectives, making me more compassionate. Lastly, having knowledge in psychology has also empowered me to continue my mission to improve people's psychological well-being.
If you also majored in psychology, I'm interested in hearing in what ways did studying psychology help you in your daily life?
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