There are two types of people in the world: those who are unable to put themselves in other people’s shoes, and those who have an intuitive understanding of how others think and feel. Psychology is the name for this intuition. If you find it easy to understand why a friend might be upset or nervous and to find the right words to comfort them, then it’s easy to see that you’ve got it in you. In fact, most people who have a natural understanding of this complex field may not even be aware of their talent. Psychology is about getting to the core of people and being able to see what influences their decisions. While you might at first think that it’s a highly useful talent for a career as a psychologist, there are much more ways that you can use this wonderful skills to improve your work, your relationship with others and even your creativity.
What is psychology?
There can be no real discussion about the creative and personal value of sharing the psychologist’s fibre without understanding exactly what psychology is about. Psychology comes from the Greek psykhe, which later evolves into the psyche in the English language and which means spirit or soul. Logy is a common suffix that refers to the study of something. To put one and one together, psychology is the study of the human soul. Admittedly, this can be a little confusing at first, as it sounds almost like something out of a theology lesson. But indulge this description a little longer is you please for it is going to clarify things for you.
In modern terms, psychology is the science of the mind, and more importantly the study of the source of thoughts and behaviour. It’s intrinsically related to our health, of course, and increased awareness of this is one of the reasons why healthcare professionals, including psychologists, are more likely to seek medical staff services, for example, to improve patient-centredness.
While we naturally consider that psychology is a human-only science, it can equally be applied to animals, assuming that you focus on discovering the specific triggers for their behaviours – for instance, you know that you can teach your dog tricks by rewarding positive behaviour instead of punishing bad ones.
Psychologists rely on the observation of human behaviour to understand the decisions of the mind because it’s impossible to observe the mind. Naturally, you don’t need to be a trained expert to have a grasp of what psychology is about. All you need is being able to identify the triggers of a specific behavioural response and know how to control it. For parents, this can be about knowing how to calm down an excited toddler. In the work environment, this can be your friendly trick to make newcomers feel welcome from day one. In short, psychology is everywhere; you just need to look for it.
The everyday jobs that rely on your soft psychologic spot
It can seem odd to think that you could use your understanding of psychology in your everyday job, even if you’re not a trained psychologist. The main reason for it is that psychology is a useful tool when you work closely with other people. You don’t need to provide them with an analysis of their behaviour – that’s the role of a psychologist – but you can use your understanding of the mind to make the most of your work relationship. For instance, healthcare jobs for nurses who work to accompany patients through difficult health situations – from dealing with cancer to providing mental health support – rely essentially on the ability of their nurses to ease their patients’ minds.
After all, being ill is a distressful situation, and it’s one that is easier to deal with if, as a patient, you feel that the medical staff is there to provide the emotional support and the comfort that you need to go through a hard time.
Healthcare is not the only sector where an understanding of psychological concepts can make a big difference. Teachers also need to understand how the mind works to help their students learn better in the classroom. Not every child will understand the lesson simply by reading the book. It’s important that teachers have a grasp of cognitive and social behaviour in the classroom so that they can improve their teaching methods and engage with most students. It can seem simplistic, but knowing that children have different ways of processing information can make the difference between pass and fail at the end of the school year.
See things with a different eye
Have you ever considered the potential of visual triggers on your mood? Sounds a little confusing? Imagine decorating your home to create the perfect feel good vibe. Understanding how each colour and pattern makes you feel is a huge advantage when you conjugate mood with your home’s interior. Colours have different meanings that are defined by your cultural education.
For instance, in the Western culture, purple awakes feelings of relaxation, which makes it a perfect shade for your living room. Blue is a calming colour that increases productivity, which is why you should add a touch of blue to your home office. Green gives a feeling of being one with nature: it provides a mix of soothing relaxation and serenity, which is why it’s ideal for the bedroom.
But if you rely on a different cultural basis, such as in China, where green is associated with health and prosperity, it’s the kind of colour that you’d keep in the entrance way of your home. Indeed, in the bedroom, green can mean infidelity.
Create to make an impact
When you begin to understand what pushes people to take a decision over another one, you can get a rather accurate picture of human nature. Agatha Christie has been relying entirely on her intuitive psychological understanding of people to create characters who don’t fall thin even on paper. Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot are exquisitely well defined, and, as readers, we already understand their behaviours and their values.
But more importantly, Christie has made of her psychological instincts the key to solve the crimes that our favourite detectives face in her stories. She has created a world where every villain is a person of his or her own with feelings that readers can relate to. Pain, love, fear, anxiety, Christie uses it all with the dexterity of a through observer of human nature.
Using psychology in your creative work means that you have the weapon you need to make an impact on those who enjoy your creations. Think about it. It’s no wonder that the most iconic songs of the past centuries are emotional. They work because they resonate with people. The same argument goes for novels, films, sculptures, paintings, and other creative works.
Help yourself by understanding others
While it seems that psychology is a facilitator for your interactions with others, through your work or your creativity, it can also be used as a way to protect yourself from negative interactions. Let’s be honest about social behaviours. The world is not always a friendly place, and sometimes people hurt you, whether they mean it or not. Being in a position where you can understand what they are going through and what triggered their reaction gives you the key to understand their ulterior motive.
People might hurt you because they hurt themselves. People might say something horrible to you without even realising that it could be hurtful. Sometimes the meaning got lost in translation, and they might not understand that they hurt your feelings. Psychology is the tool that helps you to clarify things with them and repair the relationship.
Having a soft spot for psychology is a wonderful talent to cherish and nurture. While it’s useful in specific career sectors, it is also an incredible tool to improve your mood and share your message. Knowing the mind means that you can interact with people and yourself at an emotional level. It may not make the world a better place yet, but it means that you can touch people’s heart. Maybe the study of the soul is an accurate definition, after all.