Health Psychology Overview

Over the course of the semester, many resources and avenues were presented to obtain a great understanding of the topic of psychology. When selecting courses to take this was of interest to me because 1) I like to exercise and be active 2) I am aware of the mental and physical benefits of exercise and 3) learning about a new field of psychology was of interest to me. Little did I know that the field of health psychology incorporates more than just exercise. From the very first day of class, I realized that there was a lot of information to absorb and apply to my work throughout the course of the semester.

To begin, one of the resources that was presented to us to gain a greater understanding of health psychology was the novel The Longevity Project. As much as I did enjoy the novel, I would consider the novel a “beach read.” It was informative, touched on many topics, and presented studies. However, I do not think it was the best fit for an upper level psychology course. As the semester went on, my classmates and I started to criticize the book for the lack of specificity, data representations, redundancies, and numerical figures or statistics.

After establishing the foundation of different models to learn and how to apply  health psychology during the first few weeks of class, we got into the “meat” and “heart” of the course.  Some of my favorite chapters include cancer, pain management, and exercise. At times the chapters were long and there was a lot of content to learn, however I do believe that what I’ve learned will be beneficial in promoting healthy choices in communities, creating programs that better a group’s mental and physical health, and to better my own life.

At times it seemed like the course was more geared toward memorizing certain terms, but what helped me pull every concept in class together were the guest speakers that talked to us over the course of the semester.  The real-life applications of all the memorized terms and models were made apparent in Dr. Gardiner’s, Dr. Hiller’s, and Ebony Lambert’s conversations about their experience and research. Their research and experiences were all on topics that I would not have considered at the beginning of the year when someone mentioned the phrase “health psychology.”

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