What Are Life Skills and Why Are They Important?
14 Feb 2023
Clients recover more quickly from mental health and substance use disorders if they have life skills to help them cope with stress and manage symptoms. According to the United States Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP), "Even positive changes, like having a baby or getting a job promotion, can be stressful."
Some clients have difficulty functioning when they experience stress or strong emotions. Life skills help them process and regulate their emotions in a healthy way. Samarpan Health provides various treatment programs and services, including psychotherapy and skill development, to help clients build a solid foundation for long-term healing.
What Are Life Skills?
Life skills allow clients to analyze situations, identify behavioural responses, and process difficult emotions. According to Science.gov, “Life skills are defined as problem-solving behaviors appropriately and responsibly used in the management of personal affairs,” including:
- Personal responaibilties
- Family and other close relationships
- Community events and other social interactions
- Professional relationships
Most people develop life skills as they grow and mature. Over time they develop the ability to socialize, resolve conflicts, communicate effectively, and manage stress in productive ways. However, some individuals do not have the opportunity to learn these skills due to a variety of factors, including:
- Childhood abuse or neglect
- Lack of access to further education
- Environmental factors
- Family history of substance misuse or mental health issues
Trauma or other social development factors may cause some people to have fewer life skills. Often, families with multigenerational mental health or substance misuse raise children who struggle with social skills and appropriate emotion regulation.
Therapy at Samarpan Health provides clients with the tools they need to learn and implement essential life skills. Peer support and engagement often increase the effectiveness of various skill development exercises. Clients support one another and encounter real-world scenarios in a controlled environment where they can practice social skills.
How Can Life Skills Enhance the Effectiveness of Treatment?
Treatment programs are designed to guide clients through the process of healing and building healthier routines that allow them to do the following:
- Handle stress more effectively
- Relate to others in a deeper and more meaningful way
- Make healthier life choices
- Improve their ability to function
- Increase their quality of life
Life skills also help clients achieve their treatment goals. Clients who feel confident in their ability to overcome challenges have an easier time navigating long-term recovery. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), "Where life skills programmes are being implemented, research findings indicate that life skills education is an effective approach to health promotion and prevention education."
In addition, practical skills like grocery shopping, housekeeping, and budgeting finances ensure clients know how to navigate challenges in everyday life.
4 Life Skills Taught at Samarpan Health
The treatment programs at Samarpan Health provide resources and skills development for clients recovering from substance misuse or mental health disorders. Below are four of the life skills taught at Samarpan Health.
#1. Communication and Conflict Resolution
Many people with mental health issues have difficulty coping with conflict in healthy ways. Clients in therapy learn to communicate effectively and analyze interactions in a new way to reduce stress and conflict. Peer engagement in group therapy and other activities during treatment allows each client to practice conflict resolution and new ways of communicating.
#2. Daily Self-Care and Practical Responsibilities
Clients in treatment have gradually increasing responsibilities within the facility to help them feel comfortable completing daily tasks of living like cooking, cleaning, and personal hygiene. Self-care is an essential part of the recovery process, and every client is encouraged to take time each day to look after their own well-being using constructive and healthy methods.
#3. Coping With Unexpected Stressors
Everyone experiences stressors like losing a job or having a loved one fall seriously ill. During those moments, people who have not developed healthy coping skills may struggle to process their emotional and behavioural responses to the situation. For example, if someone loses a loved one, they may not understand how to recognize or cope with their grief and instead turn to risk-taking behaviours like substance misuse to manage the pain.
Therapy provides clients with easy-to-implement coping skills, including:
- Building a strong support system
- Stress reduction techniques
- Creative problem-solving
- Recognizing the cause of various reactions and situations
Clients learn to focus on the present and objectively look at their circumstances without catastrophizing or becoming overwhelmed by strong emotions. Using these tools makes it easier for clients to avoid being overwhelmed when encountering unexpected stressors.
#4. Setting Clear Social Boundaries
Social relationships are at the core of every person's life. Relationships with friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances contribute to how clients see themselves and the world around them. Setting clear boundaries makes it easier for clients to avoid developing unhealthy relationships that may enable maladaptive behaviours. The mental health professionals at Samarpan Health ensure clients have the skills they need to set boundaries and create strategies for preventing a relapse of symptoms.
Life skills include a wide range of abilities, behaviours, and thought patterns clients learn during treatment. Self-care, eating a nutritional diet, regularly exercising, and engaging in positive social interactions all contribute to the development of healthy life skills. Every client is unique, and Samarpan Health uses personalized treatment to ensure they have access to the tools and resources they need to succeed in long-term recovery. Life skills significantly affect how clients cope with stress and engage with therapy or other treatments. Clients benefit from learning to set boundaries and practice various vital life skills with peers. To learn more about our programs, call our office today at +91 81809 19090.