Life Skills to Lead and Succeed!

“Know thyself” – Socrates

What are Life Skills?

The World Health Organization has defined life skills as, “the abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life”.

UNICEF defines life skills as “a behaviour change or behaviour development approach designed to address a balance of three areas: knowledge, attitude and skills”. The UNICEF definition is based on research evidence that suggests that shifts in risk behaviour are unlikely if knowledge, attitudinal and skills based competency are not addressed.

What are the Core Life Skill Strategies and Techniques?

UNICEF, UNESCO and WHO list the ten core life skill strategies and techniques as: problem solving, critical thinking, effective communication skills, decision-making, creative thinking, interpersonal relationship skills, self-awareness building skills, empathy, and coping with stress and emotions.

Self-awareness, self-esteem and self-confidence are essential tools for understanding
one’s strengths and weaknesses. Consequently, the individual is able to discern available opportunities and prepare to face possible threats. This leads to the development of a social awareness of the concerns of one’s family and society.

Subsequently, it is possible to identify problems that arise within both the family and
Society. With life skills, one is able to explore alternatives, weigh pros and cons and make rational decisions in solving each problem or issue as it arises. It also entails being able to establish productive interpersonal relationships with others.

Life skills enable effective communication, for example, being able to differentiate
between hearing and listening and ensuring that messages are transmitted accurately
to avoid miscommunication and misinterpretations.

What are the main components of Life Skills?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) categorizes life skills into the following
three components:

a) Critical thinking skills/Decision-making skills – include decision-making/ problem solving skills and information gathering skills. The individual must also be skilled at evaluating the future consequences of their present actions and the actions of others. They need to be able to determine alternative solutions and to analyze the influence of their own values and the values of those around them.

b) Interpersonal/Communication skills – include verbal and non-verbal communication, active listening, and the ability to express feelings and give feed back. Also in this category, are negotiation/refusal skills and assertiveness skills that
directly affect ones’ ability to manage conflict. Empathy, which is the ability to listen
and understand others’ needs, is also a key interpersonal skill. Teamwork and the ability to cooperate include expressing respect for those around us. Development of
this skill set enables the adolescent to be accepted in society. These skills result in the
acceptance of social norms that provide the foundation for adult social behaviour.

c) Coping and self-management skills refers to skills to increase the internal locus of control, so that the individual believes that they can make a difference in the world
and affect change. Self esteem, self-awareness, self-evaluation skills and the ability to
set goals are also part of the more general category of self-management skills. Anger,
grief and anxiety must all be dealt with, and the individual learns to cope loss or
trauma. Stress and time management are key, as are positive thinking and relaxation

Life skills approach can be successful, if the following are undertaken together:

a) The Skills -This involves a group of psychosocial and interpersonal skills (Critical thinking skills/Decision-making skills, Interpersonal/Communication skills, Coping and self-management skills) which are interlinked with each other. For example, decision-making is likely to involve creative and critical thinking components and values analysis.

b) Content – To effectively influence behaviour, skills must be utilized in a particular
content area. “What are we making decisions about?” Learning about decision-making will be more meaningful if the content is relevant and remains constant. Such content areas as described could be drug use, HIV/AIDS/STI prevention, suicide prevention or sexual abuse. Whatever the content area, a balance of three elements needs to be considered: knowledge, attitudes and skills.

c) Methods – Skills-based education cannot occur when there is no interaction among
participants. It relies on groups of people to be effective. Interpersonal and psychosocial skills cannot be learned from sitting alone and reading a book. If this
approach is to be successful, all three components, life skills, content and method
should be in place. This effectively means that life skills can be learnt through the use
of certain methods and tools.

Criteria for using Life Skills

UNICEF has identified the following criteria to ensure a successful life skills-based education:

* It should not only address knowledge and attitude change, but, more importantly, behaviour change.

* Traditional “information-based” approaches are generally not sufficient to yield changes in attitudes and behaviours. For example, a lecture on “safe behaviour” will not necessarily lead to the practice of safe behaviour. Therefore, the lecture should be substantiated with exercises and situations where participants can practice safe behaviour and experience its effects. The adult learning theory emphasizes that adults learn best that which they can associate with their experience and practice.

* It will work best when augmented or reinforced. If a message is given once, the brain remembers only 10 percent of it one day later, and when the same message is given six times a day, the brain remembers 90 percent of it. Hence the need to repeat, recaps, reinforce and review.

* It will work best if combined with policy development, access to appropriate health services, community development and media.

What does Research say about the Outcomes of Life Skills-Based Education?

Programmes aimed at developing life skills have produced these effects such as
Lessened violent behaviour; increased pro -social behaviour and decreased negative, self-destructive behaviour; increased the ability to plan ahead and choose effective solutions to problems; improved self-image, self-awareness, social and emotional adjustment; increased acquisition of knowledge; improved classroom behaviour; gains in self control and handling of interpersonal problems and coping with anxiety; and improved constructive conflict resolution with peers, impulse control and popularity.

We think and manage with our head. Resilience, keeping records, making wise use of resources, planning/organising and goal setting is ‘head’ related managerial functions. Service learning, Critical thinking, problem solving, decision making and learning to learn were related to our thinking processes, which we manage with our head.

Functions of the heart are relating to people and caring. How do we relate to people? We relate to people by accepting differences, conflict resolutions, social skills, cooperation and communication. The second function we do through our heart is caring. We care through nurturing relationships, sharing, empathy and concern for others.

We give and work through our hands. Community service, volunteering, leadership, responsible citizenship and contributions to group effort — are our way giving back to society. We work through our marketable skills, teamwork and self-motivation to get the things done.

Living and being comes under the functions of health. Healthy lifestyle choices, stress management, disease prevention and personal safety are our prime concerns for better living. Self-esteem, self-responsibility, character, managing feelings and self-discipline must be practiced without fail for our well-being. In a nutshell, the essence of life skills is to share well, care well and fare well.

Life skills are inevitable to become successful in professional life as well as personal life.

-Challa S.S.J.Ram Phani

Best Backpack For You

Select which method you would rather choose, and live with that decision till the time the backpack survives.

As with boots, proper fit is the key with a backpack. The weight of a pack is secondary, since a well-designed, heavier backpack may give you a more comfortable ride than a much lighter pack carrying the same load.

Pick your pack based on the type of trips you envision taking? overnight and weekenders; week-long adventures; or long expeditions. Most newcomers rightfully expect only to do a weekend at most, but it’s a shame to have a get a larger pack later if you really like the activity and want to venture out further.

Think Before You Buy: Each Step is Vital

Think about the amount of space you will need in the bag, think about the amount of compartments you will need, and the places you will carry this bag with you. Think about the amount of gear you’ll need to store and the places that you’ll be taking it. A good bag does little for you if you’re not inclined to carry it with you.

Picking the right backpack is vital for any traveler or adventure enthusiast. If you choose a bag too big, you will be carrying more kilos than required, and a tad too small will mean not enough space to carry all the vitals. Material plays an important role too, the wrong material will mean if it rains, your stuff will be soaked and will get ruined and heavy to carry. With so many options available it can become really confusing for anyone to choose just the right backpack.

Brand names may not be important to you when it comes to clothing, but when it comes to picking out a travel backpack they should be. Choosing a good brand means a few things when it comes to travel bags. For one, it usually means a warranty. This will come in handy if something goes wrong with your bag, if it somehow rips, the straps snap, etc. However if you choose a good brand, none of these things are likely to happen because your bag will have been made of sturdy material and will have been built to last.

The Backpack List: As Vital As Your Breath

You should go through all the details, try, experience numerous backpacks before setting your eyes on “The One.” We are going to lay out all the qualities that you should seek in every backpack so that you can count down to the chosen one. This list is the result of hours of research and experience of numerous trips relating to hiking, camping.

Backpacks are most often sized in terms of cubic inches or liters, referring to the volume capacity of the gear-holding compartments. Most models also come in different lengths (usually referenced as long, medium or short) to meet the different torso lengths of potential wearers.

Quite a few backpacks are on the market, ranging from small daypacks to full-size backpacks designed for six months on the Appalachian Trail. Fortunately (for your back), packs have been getting smaller over the past 20 years. This is not due to pack technology as much as advancements in camping gear. Tents are lighter, as are sleeping bags, stoves, etc.

Conventional camera bags are designed to hold the entire weight of the equipment only on one shoulder. This was not only cumbersome, but also caused a lot of pain the shoulder that was taking in the weight. This is one issue with travel bags, which a traveler with keen interest in photography needs to take into consideration.

A single “day hike” or “overnighter” to about one week (adding food from plants or fishing/hunting) or in places where you need tools or equipment would require packs in the range of 1,800-2,500 cubic inch (30-40 liters) internal space. Adding outside strapping for odd tools this need could be less than half for short trips.

What Type of Backpack?

Any pack (regardless of type) that is adjusted incorrectly will cause you pain and be difficult to take for long periods of traveling.

All packs are designed to place a majority of the weight on your hip belt! Both internal and external frame packs should have tight fitting, well padded, well designed hip belts! DO NOT depend on the shoulder straps to carry the weight for long periods of time.

Ask The Right Questions: Get the Right Answers

Choosing the right travel bag can be tricky, so to help you out we’ve compiled a few guidelines to make your backpack shopping a tad bit easier.

  1. Are there any other activities that I plan to carry out when I am shooting?
  2. Will I require carrying the backpack long distances when I am out shooting?
  3. Can I combine it with my hiking gear?
  4. Can I stow in the overhead compartment (if you are flying anywhere)
  5. Will it be comfortable to carry, especially if I am going to be using it when I am going for a hike or a trek
  6. Can it double up as an overnight bag just in case of a short trip?

Points That Matter: The Guidelines to Buy the Best Backpack

Now that you have considered the questions, keep in mind the following points when you are zeroing in to buy a backpack. The following points critical, and the most important key point is – The Best Backpacks are the ones that last the longest – as if you are investing a good amount of money it needs to serve you for a lifetime. Look for characteristics that make sure that the backpack is durable, protective, and lasts for a lifetime.

  1. Know Your Torso: A large, tall person can have a short torso (and long legs) thus requiring a smaller pack. A shorter, smaller person can have a longer torso (and shorter legs-like me) and require a larger pack. All pack makers design their packs with your torso in mind. Thus, measure your torso, preferably before shopping, so you will have that knowledge in your pocket. This will, hopefully, eliminate total dependence on outdoor-shop salespeople–who sometimes make mistakes!
  2. Make Sure It Is Customized For The Trip: There are bags in the market which are designed in a customized fashion in order to appeal to specific demands. They all have different USPs, from the likes for overnight visits, hiking bags, camera backpacks , trekking backpacks, Traveling backpacks and many other utilities. When in doubt, ask.
  3. The backpack needs to be comfortable when loaded, so strap in on your shoulder to check the comfort level. Testing the backpack before buying is really important and suggested. So strap it on, and preferably try and get all the information about the backpack from the team selling it. They will guide you to what best suites you according to your needs.
  4. Hip Belt: When carrying heavy loads, the majority of the pack’s weight (as much as 80%) should be supported by the hip belt. All large backpacks are designed with load support on the hip, and the belt has to be heavily padded, and have good durability. But it is always better to check them yourself cause you are going to use the backpack. Climbers and skiers may opt for a minimal hip belt to increase their freedom of movement.

Basic Skincare for Oil-Prone Skin

Healthy skin is possible, no matter your skin type. But in order to achieve the look you want, you first have to understand your skin type and know what works best for it. For those with oily skin, here are a few tips to keep your skin nourished, clean, and protected.

Some of the characteristics of oily skin include the following:

-Overall shine; sometimes a “slick” feeling, even when you’re wearing makeup
-Coarse texture
-Enlarged pores
-Resistance to fine lines and wrinkles
-Sallow complexion
-Acne spots and blackheads
-Tendency to repel makeup

What causes oily skin? Oily skin is caused by excessive secretions of sebum, the skin’s natural oil. Poor health, especially a diet high in sugar and saturated fats can exacerbate the problem. Other factors such as emotional upsets and stress are known to trigger increased sebum deposits. The answer to fighting oily skin is not to let it “dry out.” Dried-out skin caused by alcohol-based products and harsh soaps actually activate the oil glands to produce more sebum, making the situation even slicker.

To take care of your oily skin properly, use only non-comedogenic products (free of mineral oil and other petroleum-based derivatives) that keep your pores clean and prevent acne spots. Cleanse your skin regularly with a product designed to treat oil-prone skin to aid in removing bacteria and waxy oils from the pores. After cleansing, apply an alcohol-free toner and a lightweight moisturizer. Once a week, use a gentle exfoliant to loosen and remove blackheads.

As is the case with any skincare regiment, always apply sunscreen. Doing so significantly reduces the amount of sun damage to the skin and the risk of skin cancer. Choose one that is oil-free and created for faces and you won’t have to worry about breakouts.