What Is Psychology ?

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and how it dictates and influences our behaviour, from communication and memory to thought and emotion.

It’s about understanding what makes people tick and how this understanding can help us address many of the problems and issues in society today.

As a science psychology functions as both a thriving academic discipline and a vital professional practice, one dedicated to the study of human behaviour – and the thoughts, feelings, and motivations behind it – through observation, measurement, and testing, in order to form conclusions that are based on sound scientific methodology.

It is made up of members from all walks of life whose primary interest is in the development and application of psychology for the greater public good.

The Society comprises several divisions, each dedicated to a specific specialty, and is responsible for the promotion of excellence and ethical practice in the science, education, and practical applications of psychology.

Role Of Psychology?

People seek the help and support of psychologists for all sorts of problems, and psychologists employ their knowledge and expertise to help in many areas of society, such as:

  • coping with bereavement
  • dealing with trauma
  • understanding and dealing with psychosis and schizophrenia
  • preventing and overcoming depression, stress, and anxiety
  • speeding up recovery from brain injury
  • helping to stop or prevent bullying
  • improving performance both at school and in the workplace
  • assisting the police, courts, and prison services in the operation of their duties
  • analysing and improving athletic performance

Types Of Happiness According To Psychology

Three different types of happiness

We all want happiness. But what sort of happiness do you want?

Happiness is a complex concept that cannot be pinned down to one simple dimension. Daniel Nettle describes three levels / types of happiness in psychology each representing different aspects of the positive emotions we strive for as human beings.

Level 1 happiness: Represents momentary feelings of joy and pleasure

The first level of happiness represents short-term positive emotions sometimes referred to as “simple pleasures”. They can result from a good meal, a hobby we enjoy, watching a good movie, listening to piece of music we like, sex and so on.

It is quite easy to observe this level of happiness because of the immediate feelings of joy people experience. These types of emotions are also pretty easy to measure and compare because brain scans show that certain parts of our brain are active when we have these emotions.

This level of happiness is pleasurable but the good feelings do not last for very long and we will return to our “baseline” mental state quite quickly.

Level 2 happiness: Represents judgements about feelings

Sometimes referred to as well-being The second level of happiness is more thoughtful and requires an assessment that goes beyond the momentary feelings of level one. Questions about happiness and well-being normally works at this level – if you are asked about how happy you are with your life in general your answer will reflect a level two assessment of your happiness (probably you are not enjoying a hobby or having sex when asked this question so level one is out).

Level 2 happiness is also relative in the sense that you compare your situation with other people as well as how you have felt in the past.

Many studies of happiness in psychology works at this level. If you read about research saying for example that people in country A are happier than people in country B then most likely it refers to level 2 happiness measured through various surveys.

Level 3 happiness: Represents a higher meaning of life, flourishing and fulfilling one’s potential

The third level of happiness represents fulfilment at a higher level – achieving one’s full potential. It can be seen as accomplishments with a higher meaning and has to do with self-realization.

It is related to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs where self-actualization is at the top of the pyramid (following physiological and safety needs and needs for love, belonging and self-esteem).

Level 3 happiness is more difficult to measure than the other two levels. People high in level 3 happiness live more in harmony with their deeper values and therefore have fewer inner conflicts because they often feel that what they do has meaning and is contributing to a greater cause.

According to Daniel Nettle you could say that one is optimally happy at this level.

To summarise: Towards the lower level, happiness is more immediate, sensual, and measurable. Towards the higher level, happiness is more rational, reflective, and relative.

Can you be happy in all senses of the term all the time?

That’s very unlikely if not impossible. There’s a trade off between the different levels in the sense that you can’t have high levels on all three all the time – at least that’s very difficult. If you focus too much on the momentary joys and pleasures of level one then you probably won’t work hard enough to reach your potential and succeed on your long term objectives in life.

On the other hand, if you spend all your time working towards long time goals you’ll probably forget to enjoy the simpler things in life.

It’s all about balance!

Types Of Stress According To Psychology

What are the Different Kinds of Stress?

Many people feel stress after dealing with the loss of a loved one, while going through a divorce or even after a tough day at work, but most people don’t realize is that there are different kinds of stress. The types of stress relate to how the stress comes on or what symptoms are associated with the stress, but psychologists typically differentiate between the different types based on how long the periods last. Learning more about the different types and periods of stress can help individuals learn how to battle stress.

Physical Stress

A common type of stress is physical stress, which refers to actual physical activities and events that wreak havoc on the human body. One good example is travel. Traveling frequently can send you to different time zones, which makes sleeping and waking difficult. Physical stress also includes stress brought on by sleeping too much, not getting enough sleep, spending too many hours on your feet or working long hours. If you ever spent a day chasing your kids around an amusement park or stuck in an airport and dealing with flight delays, you have likely experienced physical stress.

Emotional Stress

Out of all the different kinds of stress, emotional stress is the most common. This can occur after you go through an intense break up or divorce, lose a loved one, have a fight with your spouse or experience any other problem that causes you to feel depressed or anxious. Emotional stress often manifests in the same way that depression does. You may experience weight changes, changes in how you fall asleep or how long you sleep, feelings of isolation and mood swings. Emotional stress can also occur when you feel overwhelmed at home or at work.

Traumatic Stress

When thinking about the types of stress, many people don’t think about traumatic stress. Traumatic stress is a type of stress that occurs because of some type of trauma to the human body and may lead to intense pain, coma or even death. It often relates to some kind of physical change that occurs. If you went through an operation, your body may experience stress until you recover from that surgery. A car accident, second or third degree burns or even a case of pneumonia may all cause traumatic stress.

Acute vs. Chronic Stress

In addition to the different types of stress, psychologists differentiate between acute stress and chronic stress. According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress refers to an extended type of stress that impacts people every day of the year and can last for years or even decades. Acute stress is a type of stress that only occurs for a set period of time or only because of certain factors in the environment. This may include the stress you feel after a fight with your kids, a meeting at work or an encounter with another driver on the road. The APA also identifies something called episodic acute stress, which refers to intense periods of stress.

Stress can wreak havoc on the human body. It causes people to feel sick and tired and may lead some to contemplate suicide. Psychologists can help you learn more about the different kinds of stress, show you how to combat that stress and learning coping mechanisms for use at home and work.