PSYCH in MY Life

​Psychology is known as the science or study of the mind and internal processes, mental functions, study of behaviours, it can refer to the way a person or a group of people think and why they think that way. To me, psychology is not one specific definition but rather so many different ones.

Classical Conditioning 

Classical conditioning is learning by paired association. This is where you go through something in your life that continues to affect you into your future. It includes the unconditioned stimulus (UCS), unconditioned response (UCR), neutral stimulus (NS), conditioned stimulus (CS), and conditioned response (CR). 

I visited the dentist a lot as a kid, my mom is a dental hygienist so she was always making sure that my teeth were clean and I didn’t have any problems, she was always very gentle and I enjoyed going to her office. When I turned 16 I had to change dental offices because the one that my mom was working at was dentistry for kids only. My first visit there was worse then I was expecting. The hygienist was rough and not very friendly, changing my opinion on the dentist entirely.

Classical conditioning has definitely taken part in my life. One time I can remember vividly, was three years ago, when the same dental office that I was already not the fondest of, had decided I needed my wisdom teeth pulled. Wisdom teeth are already a very nerve wrecking experience with the horror stories people share with you about the pain and the recovery process. However, with the encouragement of my mother, I decided to get it over with.

When you get your wisdom teeth pulled they put you on an IV to sedate you. I thought this was wonderful because now I wouldn’t feel anything and I would wake up when it was all finished! Boy, was I wrong…

I sat down in the chair for my surgery, where the assistant prepped my arm for the IV. She said to me “you’ll feel a little pinch then it will be over” except she had to ‘pinch’ me multiple times because my vein wasn’t cooperating. This was very painful and the IV was long and frightening 😦 … She had put it into my arm three times before she decided she couldn’t get the vein and was going to try my other arm. The surgery was over before I knew it and to this day I am scared and tremble at the sight of all needles.

UCS- Dental work

UCR- Pain/pinching

NS- IV needle

CS- IV needle

CR- Scared/tremble

I really do believe that this traumatic time I went through a few years ago has impacted my life negatively. I am always nervous of needles, I will get crazy butterflies in my stomach, I feel sick and I get overly anxious whenever I find out I have to get a needle or have an IV put into my arm. I never choose to get the flu shot because of this situation I went through in the past. I also am very nervous at the thought of donating blood, although I would really like to do that. I hope that eventually I can get over this and stop feeling scared of needles, which would be classified as a form of extinction. However, if I were to get over it I’m sure every once in a while, out of the blue, I would still get those anxious feelings at the dental office because of how large an impact it has had on me, this is known as spontaneous recovery.

Generalization & Discrimination

Generalization is when you generalize something; for me I was scared of all needles and IV’s, it didn’t matter if it was blood work, dental work or the flu shot. This is called a stimulus generalization. I am viewing the world differently because there are many consequences to me feeling this way, as I previously mentioned my fear doesn’t only relate to dental needles, it relates to flu shots and other things that I would like to do but am hesitant to be doing because of my wisdom teeth IV experience. This form of classical conditioning in my life is causing me to miss out things, for example, helping others by donating blood.

Discrimination on the other hand would be if I was discriminating on one thing. For example I was only scared of dental IV’s. I wish that this was the case, I feel that if I was only nervous of dental IV’s I would be able to get other needles and trust that it wouldn’t be the same situation. This would allow my life to be less sheltered when it comes to giving blood, getting blood work done, immunizations, and although some needles are unavoidable and I have to have them, it causes a great deal of distress on my body when I have to put myself through that. If I could discriminate towards only the dental IV then I could try to move on and rid myself of this by means of having other needles and gaining the confidence back that maybe it was only a one time thing and might not necessarily happen again. I think that would put me on the road to recovering from that negative experience if I had the courage to receive other needles.


Distress & Eustress

Stress is often categorized as something negatively impacting our life, I believe this is because we use the word stress in our everyday lives to describe negative situations which leads us to believe that all forms of stress are bad for you, this is not true.

Distress is the more common form of stress, which is negative. Usually this kind of stress causes anxiety, concern, unpleasant feeling, decrease your performance and can also lead to mental and physical problems down the road. Distress can be short term or long term. I think everyone deal with distress in their lives, I know I do. School is a main stressor of mine; whether is be the assignments and exams or the money to pay for it. That is a common form of distress, however other examples could be your personal fears (heights, presentations), worrying is a large cause of distress; whether it is worrying about medical tests, future events, or unrealistic, perfectionist expectations for yourself (weight, image, job, having lots of money, etc). People worry about everything! This causes so much negative stress on our bodies.

Eustress is a form of positive stress, which can focus your energy towards something and motivate you, improve your performance, excite you and is usually short term. I definitely have experienced eustress in my life, a simple example would be going on vacation and traveling, it is my all time favourite thing to do and I travel to at least one new place every year, it causes me a lot of happiness and fulfillment. Examples in general could be getting a promotion at work, a new job, marriage, having a baby, vacations, holidays, etc. These are all very common for people and many people experience these things however we don’t usually think of these things as a form of stress.

So… How does eustress and distress come together in my life?! Well, I am 21 years old and I am taking a very big step, probably one of the scariest ones so far in my life. I have decided that with many years of saving and hard work – I am able to buy my very first house. Along with this choice comes so many forms of stressors (negative ones and definitely many positives as well).

First, is the entire process of making sure I had enough money for a down payment, then came the worrying about making sure I will be able to pay the mortgage and the bills every month. My plan is to live with a couple of my girlfriends and have them pay me rent so that my expenses monthly would be minimized, putting less distress on me. Then of course comes the distress of the pre-approval for my mortgage. However about four business days after applying for that came the eustress of being APPROVED! 🙂 Next there are, what feels like, endless amounts of moving costs that need to be budgeted for (lawyer fees, home inspection, land transfer tax, insurance, etc). This whole process has been a whirlwind of up and down emotions, feeling overwhelmed, then feeling excited, tears and also some very ‘proud of myself’ moments.

This has effected my life by giving me a lot of experience on dealing with stress. I have learnt different ways to cope with stress and discovered which ways are best suited for me. I believe this is beneficial for my future because I will experience similar situations down the road in which I can apply these findings.

This entire process has left me feeling a lot of mixed emotions, including a lot of both negative and positive stress. I am dealing with this physical stress through exercise, getting enough sleep at night, and eating right so my body is taken care of. I am dealing with the financial stresses by setting budgets and sticking to them, knowing my limits when looking at houses, understanding my financial position and how much I will be able to afford and meeting with my bank often, and asking tons of questions to ensure I am not missing anything and will not run into any surprises. I think these things help because it makes me feel confident about myself and my choices which takes some stress away. I find it interesting how one situation can have both negative and positive stressors. I definitely think the positive stressors are what has made the whole process worth it.

Wish me luck on finding the perfect starter home!!!


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