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  • Live a more stress free life

    Do you know those times when there is so much on your mind you can’t stop thinking? Thoughts or worries bubble up non-stop and after a while you become exhausted, worried or stressed.

    Usually this is because we tend to evaluate the past or try to predict or worry about the future. “Will I be able to make this in time?” Or, “What might he think about this?” Or,  “Oh… oh what did I do?!”

    But when you think about it, the only thing we really have is the present. The past is only an archive of memories that lives on in our mind. And the future is only what we think might happen, and is influenced by so many factors that it is pretty hard to predict. Studies show that over 80% of worries about the future never materialize.

    Part of the Psychology Essentials course is training your awareness. Awareness is simply being able to see what is going on inside of you and around you in the present moment without judging it. This not only helps you understand how you think and to identify negative thinking patterns, but also helps you to stay calm in problematic situations. It gives you more time to make conscious decisions about what to do instead of being instantly overwhelmed by feelings.

    A very nice side effect of training your awareness is that you will also be able to live more in the moment. You will worry less and have the chance to experience the present more fully because you are not distracted by thoughts about the past or the future.

  • Understand yourself better

    Much of our daily thinking occurs in an area of our mind that is closed for many of us, the unconscious part of our mind.

    Most people know little about how to control or work with this part of their mind that is filled with unconscious thoughts, unconscious habits and automatic reactions, complexes, hidden phobias and concealed desires. The subconscious or unconscious mind includes all the things we have learned and do automatically, like walking or typing without looking at a keyboard.

    Our conscious way of thinking is always determined by our unconscious mind. Before we become aware of it, all sensory input (what we see, hear, smell and taste) is filtered and processed by the unconscious mind, which in turn alters that input. For example, our unconscious mind determines whether or not we find someone beautiful.

    Basically a lot of the things that make you who you are come from the dark, vast space we call the unconscious mind.

    Wouldn’t it be nice to learn to see a bit better in the dark? To spot some of our underlying ideas and motivations that make us who we are, and make us feel or act like we do?

    Imagine your mind as a vast ocean of which you usually just see the surface. When you think and deal with your conscious thoughts you are swimming on the surface. Dealing with your subconscious thoughts means you learn to dive and see what is going on down there.

    This is not scary; it is fascinating and will help you better understand yourself. If you want, it can also help you change yourself. In the Psychology Essentials course you will learn how to dive down there, what kind of equipment you will need, and how to make sense of the truly fantastic and sometimes weird things you might come across.

  • Make better decisions

    Think of your decision-making like this: In every area of your life you have a goal or something you want to achieve. For example you might want to be successful, get a promotion and double your current salary by the end of the year — or you might simply want to kill your neighbour’s noisy dog (but don’t!).

    Imagine your goal as a point on a map. There are many ways to get to this point, and you make decisions on how to get there. So you start walking in a certain direction towards your goal. Whenever you reach a crossroad and must make a decision,your emotions, experiences, values and thoughts are all tugging you in different directions.

    For example, one feeling might try pulling you toward the road on the left, while the logical and analytical part of your mind pulls you toward the road on the right. If you feel deeply about a certain topic or many feelings are involved, this tugging and pulling can feel like getting beat up or torn apart. You might also feel like you are stuck or confused when several forces pull you in different directions. Those are the times when you are unable to make a decision.

    The JU Psychology Essentials Course helps you understand what is pushing and pulling you around whenever you face a decision. It helps you organize those unruly forces (or slap them into place!). Part of this is training your awareness and detecting faulty thinking. This can help you get unstuck and make decisions faster and better because you can see the whole picture without being too deeply involved.

    When you learn to understand your own unique processes influencing your decision-making, you feel more at home with yourself. Your thoughts and feelings stop tugging and pulling and stay still so you can look at them and decide what you want to do. You are more confident about making well-informed decisions and about seeing clearly what matters.

  • Become a more complete person

    Some people might be good at being compassionate, while others might excel in hating their neighbours with passion. Leaving out the good and bad in this, everyone has areas in which they are better than others.

    Research shows that genetics do play a role. For example, if you are genetically predisposed to happiness, it is easier for you to feel happy, but of course this is just one factor of many.

    Recently I was helping a friend renovate his house, and for the first time in about 10 years I was painting walls. I remember how messy painting was, but this time, it was not messy at all and the results were great. My friend, who loves to work on things around his home, told me how paints have improved a lot over the last couple of years, and how it has become pretty easy to get things done in a good and professional way without being an expert or hiring a painter.

    Cognitive psychology and neuroscience have made a lot of progress in recent years as well, and you can benefit from this. The good news is you are already equipped with all the right tools to work on yourself. It is just a matter of upgrading them and understanding how to use them effectively to become a more complete person.

    In the Psychology Essentials course you will learn the basic “art of change” that can be used for whatever goal you like.

    I am guessing that goal is not to become the most evil and aggressive person in your neighborhood, and that instead you will want to use these ideas more constructively. But in the end this is up to you. The psychological principles you will learn are powerful tools that will help you to be who you want to be and go where you want to go. They are some of the most magical things that still exist in our world. And as we know from Harry Potter, being able to perform a bit of magic isn’t a bad thing.

  • Free yourself from faulty thinking

    We all have faulty thinking patterns at times, and there is nothing wrong with that. How we see the world and how we think are heavily influenced by our past experiences, our values and the current information we have. All this creates a frame of reference within us that is as unique as we are.

    We use this frame of reference to evaluate incoming information. But because all incoming information also modifies that frame of reference, we sometimes develop faulty thinking patterns.

    For example, we might expect that our family visit will be boring. Because of our expectation we only see the boring parts of our visit and not the more interesting parts. In this case our frame of reference modifies the information that we get by paying more attention to the boring parts of our visit.

    After the visit we think it was another boring family visit, and the next time we will be even more convinced that it will be boring again. In this case our experience alters our frame of reference and just reinforces the belief that family visits are boring. Of course the next time we visit our family we will be even more convinced that it will be boring and just like this a faulty thinking pattern can become stronger and stronger over time.

    In the Psychology Essentials course you learn how to detect your own unique thinking patterns as well as ways to change them. You will be amazed by the interesting thinking patterns you will discover in yourself.

  • Improve your communication skills

    When was the last time you said something to someone and then wondered what was going on inside of them? One of the great things about learning essential psychological principles is that you not only understand yourself better, but also the people around you.

    You learn not only to question yourself and find the underlying thoughts that create a certain behaviour or emotion, but you also learn to understand the thoughts and motivations of other people.

    This happens more quickly with people you spend a lot of time with. Understanding them better gives you more flexibility in how you deal with them.

    For example, when a person frequently uses words like “always,”, “everybody” or “nobody” in situations where those words don’t accurately describe what is going on, they are most likely overgeneralizing. “You always ignore me.” Or, “Everyone should appreciate criticism.”

    Understanding this gives you a clue about how this person thinks and how to deal with them. People who overgeneralize disempower themselves because they see things as final and unable to change. That often makes them inflexible in their way of thinking about these “overgeneralized” topics. So whenever you deal with them you should be aware of this and keep your conversation as focused and detailed as possible. Remind that person that there are always choices whenever you see they slip into overgeneralizing.

    This is just one example of how you can improve your communication and relationships with other people. You start by learning how to control your thoughts and emotions better. Once you have mastered this you can apply this to the people around you. You can help them with problems or communicate with them more effectively because you understand what makes them tick.

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