Why study Psychology?

Psychology is the scientific study of behaviour (both internal mental processes and one’s overt actions). The subject is quite in vogue, and, rightly so. While every subject/field has value and potential, I am going to discuss benefits of delving into the realm of Psychology as I am myself connected with and adore the subject.

There were three reasons why I chose to study Psychology after 12th. One, I have always attempted to understand people. Two, with ever increasing stress-levels and mental health issues, the subject is like a beacon of hope that can help a person assist people. Third, I wanted to work like a doctor. Given my disability it wasn’t possible to take up medical, so Psychology became the automatic next go-to option, as the subject has scope, too.

When one studies Psychology, one begins to understand one’s own-self – the first step towards understanding others. A lot of queries about why people act the way they do, what are their motives, what are the behaviour patterns serving (or not serving) etc begin to get answered. Though there can be instances when it doesn’t make sense, but keeping the spirit of ‘wanting-to-know’ alive presents hitherto unthought of and unexperienced breakthroughs.

Some specific benefits are as follows:

Refined interpersonal skills: Studying Psychology improves one’s handling of relationships and helps in bettering communication skills. How does that happen, one might wonder. For one, Psychology teaches empathy, which enables us to consider and give due importance to other people’s point(s) of view. Two, it teaches us healthy negotiating techniques that create win-win situations for all concerned. Three, it advocates assertiveness whereby we effectively convey our needs and requirements, too. So on and so forth.

Broadened thinking horizons: With topics like emotions, intelligence, personality, body-language etc one’s repertoire to be able to think broadens. When one learns of differences and similarities of human psyche, one becomes more accepting and forgiving. Enhanced knowledge of problem-solving, thinking, creativity, leadership, attitude and decision making further strengthen the person.

Managing stress: No being can avoid facing changes in life, and the resultant stresses. Mother Nature has already bestowed us with coping mechanisms but only to an extent when seen in the context of modern industrialized life. Techniques to manage stress are a must, and timely interventions in this regard are initiated by people with a background in Psychology since they know, and can understand, and even devise customized solutions.

Practical exposure: The realm of Psychology includes practical ad hands-on training, experiments and psychometrics (psychological testing), too. By way of these, cause-effect relations can be understood, and, numerous mental constructs can be quantified; and further action taken accordingly. Internships can provide further enlightenment and exposure.

Research methods: The subject enables its enthusiasts to research areas of their interest and find answers. There are the topics related to statistics and research methodologies, too; for nothing in the present day will hold value and/or substance unless backed by scientific strategies.

Developmental stages: Psychology enlightens about stages of one’s life, the challenges and strengths faced by individuals during these, and suggests adequate measures to make the most of one’s journey of life. This, and in fact all the topics covered by the length and breadth of Psychology, equip the student both for own-self as well as others!

Helping profession: Last but not the least, they say that precaution is better than cure. Cultivation of a knowledge base of various mental health issues, the reasons that can aggravate or alleviate the symptoms, and aiming better mental health for communities the equip people from this field to truly, deeply and genuinely help cum assist others in developing lifestyle(s) that lower the risks of psychological diseases.

It’s beyond the purview of this article to encompass ALL the benefits that the realm entails, but it can easily be said that Psychology graduates have both hard skills and soft skills, a clear advantage over other fields. With this they have abundant career opportunities for wherever there are people, there follows a need to understand and handle them. Example: Psychologists (in private practice, hospitals, companies, NGOs, schools, colleges, army etc), counsellors, researchers, therapists, teachers, statisticians, human resource manager, child-psychologist, sports psychologist, clinical psychologist: the list goes on. The multifaceted scope of the subject benefits anyone and everyone, including home-makers. So, whether a student looking to graduate, or a lawyer seeking to improve his dealings… or an engineer trying to hone people skills or a peace-loving mother of difficult kids – do explore the courses related to Psychology and reap the benefits – both for yourself and others!

(The author of the above article is Dr. Reema Bansal – Assistant professor of Psychology at Rajiv Gandhi Govt. College, Saha, Ambala)

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