Life skills are abilities for the adaption and positively applying in behaviour that enable humans to deal judiciously and effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life. It is the psychosocial competency within individuals. They are a set of human skills acquired via teaching or direct experience that are used to handle problems and questions commonly encountered in daily human life. The subject varies greatly depending on social norms and community expectations but skills that functions for well-being of society and aid individuals to develop into active and productive members of their communities are considered as life skills. There are many such skills, but core life skills include the ability to: The Ten core Life Skills as laid down by World Health Organization are:
1. Self-awareness: Self-awareness includes recognition of ‘self’, our character, our strengths and weaknesses, desires and dislikes. Developing self-awareness can help us to recognize when we are stressed or feel under pressure. It is often a prerequisite to effective communication and interpersonal relations, as well as for developing empathy with others.
2. Empathy - To have a successful relationship with our loved ones and society at large, we need to understand and care about other peoples’ needs, desires and feelings. Empathy is the ability to imagine what life is like for another person. Without empathy, our communication with others will amount to one-way traffic. Worst, we will be acting and behaving according to our self-interest and are bound to run into problems. No man is an island, no woman either! We grow up in relationships with many people – parents, brothers and sisters, cousins, uncles and aunts, classmates, friends and neighbors’. When we understand ourselves as well as others, we are better prepared to communicate our needs and desires. We will be more equipped to say what we want people to know, present our thoughts and ideas and tackle delicate issues without offending other people. At the same time, we will be able to elicit support from others, and win their understanding. Empathy can help us to accept others, who may be very different from ourselves. This can improve social interactions, especially, in situations of ethnic or cultural diversity. Empathy can also help to encourage nurturing behavior towards people in need of care and assistance, or tolerance, or people with mental disorders, who may be stigmatized and ostracized by the very people they depend upon for support.
3. Critical thinking: It is an ability to analyze information and experiences in an objective manner. Critical thinking can contribute to health by helping us to recognize and assess the factors that influence attitudes and behavior, such as values, peer pressure and the media.
4. Creative thinking: It is a novel way of seeing or doing things that is characteristic of four components – fluency (generating new ideas), flexibility (shifting perspective easily), originality (conceiving of something new), and elaboration (building on other ideas).
5. Decision making: It helps us to deal constructively with decisions about our lives. This can have consequences for health. It can teach people how to actively make decisions about their actions in relation to healthy assessment of different options and, what effects these different decisions are likely to have.
6. Problem solving: It helps us to deal constructively with problems in our lives. Significant problems that are left unresolved can cause mental stress and give rise to accompanying physical strain.
7. Interpersonal relationship: Such skills help us to relate in positive ways with the people we interact with. This may mean being able to make and keep friendly relationships, which can be of great importance to our mental and social well-being. It may mean keeping, good relations with family members, which are an important source of social support. It may also mean being able to end relationships constructively.
8. Effective communication: It means that we are able to express ourselves, both verbally and non-verbally, in ways that are appropriate to our cultures and situations. This means being able to express opinions and desires, and also needs and fears. And it may mean being able to ask for advice and help in a time of need. Coping with stress means recognizing the sources of stress in our lives, recognizing how this affects us, and acting in ways that help us control our levels of stress, by changing our environment or lifestyle and learning how to relax. Coping with emotions means involving recognizing emotions within us and others, being aware of how emotions influence behavior and being able to respond to emotions appropriately. Intense emotions like anger or sadness can have negative effects on our health if we do not respond appropriately.
9. Coping with stress: The research findings say that 95% of all the diseases are created by stress. Wrong beliefs like “I’m not good enough” or "Something is wrong with me" cause up to 95% of all illness and disease. The membrane of the cell is the brain of the cell, not the nucleus. Our beliefs are stored in the membrane of our cells. Unless we are fully aware of what we are doing and why we are doing it at every moment, we are always acting on our unconscious programming stored as beliefs in our cells. Scientific research has established that stress is the core factor in physical, mental, and emotional disease. Discovering how unconscious physical, mental and emotional habits create stress, aging, addiction and disease, through awareness and simple lifestyle changes reclaiming youthful vitality, joy and well being.10. Coping with Emotion: Emotional Factors in Mental well being our feelings are a wonderful barometer of our well being. When we are not caught up in negative thinking, our feelings remain positive, and we feel joyful, loving and peaceful. When we are feeling fearful, angry, or depressed it is a sure sign that our thoughts have become negative and dysfunctional. Developing this awareness and making the decision to eliminate negative thinking can be dramatically life changing. Alter your own brain chemistry with thoughts of appreciation, gratitude, joy and love.
Dr. D. N. Singh
JIE, JEMTEC, G. Noida