Hannah-Marie, a third-year student doing a joint degree in Psychology BSc (Hons) and Education Studies BA (Hons) at Worcester shares some of her favourite things that she’s learnt so far. Modules on courses can be subject to change as they are are informed by research and current developments in the discipline:
Some things I have learnt from my favourite Psychology module – from a final year student.
Over nearly 3 years of studying Psychology at University (alongside Education Studies) I have learnt so many new things and expanded my knowledge of the area. The modules have really varied throughout my degree. Which I love because I’ve been able to think about Psychology from different perspectives. really understand how wide the subject is and how much there is to learn!
What have I studied?
In my first and second years, some of my modules have included; Introduction to Psychology, Research Methods, Social and Developmental Psychology, and Biological and Cognitive Psychology. Whilst studying these, I really began to think about what I find the most interesting about Psychology. This helped to inform my decision of what modules to pick for my final year and how to specialise. In my first semester of 3rd year, I studied Positive Psychology, and in my final semester I am now studying Educational Psychology! As an aspiring Educational Psychologist I knew I wanted to chose the Educational Psychology module, however, much to my surprise, I really loved the Positive Psychology module and it has been my favourite subject that I have studied over the last three years.
Why Postive Psychology?
Positive Psychology was a really uplifting module that explores what it is that allows humans to thrive and be the best version of themselves. Rather than focusing on potentially negative aspects of humans (like psychopathology often does), positive psychology takes a different approach and focuses on the optimistic parts of human behaviour! In the module we explored aspects like happiness, wellbeing, gratitude, character, creativity, mindfulness, hope and optimism. All of these things have been explored in terms of the outcomes they can have on things such as mental wellbeing, education, relationships etc. and how they can be promoted even further using interventions! Some of the things I have learnt from this positive psychology module I have actually applied to my own life and I will share with you some of my favourite things that I learnt from this module.
1. Practising gratitude can improve mental wellbeing!
Gratitude is the act of being thankful and grateful for something (object or event) or someone, and showing appreciation for this. Gratitude diaries are a great way of practicing appreciation for things in life, and taking a moment to reflect on the positive. Research has demonstrated that students who kept a gratitude for 2 weeks felt more optimistic and enthusiastic, and had higher levels of determination and energy (Emmons and McCullough, 2003)! Isn’t that amazing?
2. Mindfulness can actually alter our brain activity!
Mindfulness has become more popular in the last 20 years, and is the practice of being aware of the present moment in a non-judgemental way. This effect of mindfulness on brain activity is still being researched, but so far, research has noticed that mindfulness alters the structure and function of the amygdala in the brain, which calms the flight or fight response (Crewell & Lindsay, 2014).
3. It’s really good to have hope!
I mean that seems like quite an obvious thing to say… but having hope genuinely has many positive outcomes. Research has suggested that athletes with high-hopes are more successful (Snyder & Curry, 2000). Hope has also been associated with feeling more confident, energised, inspired (Snyder et al., 1992), and making more progress towards goals (Feldman & Dreher, 2011).
These are just a few of the things I studied during my favourite module. It was really uplifting and focused on what makes a person good as well as how these aspects can be promoted. Learning about positive concepts that can make an impact on someone’s life, and being taught by passionate and knowledgeable lecturers is what makes studying Psychology so rewarding!