Life skills are behavioral and interpersonal abilities that you use to interact with the world and people around you. Problem-solving, decision making, communication, empathy, assertiveness, and coping with stress or powerful emotions are each a type of life skill.
People who lack or lose certain abilities that would otherwise provide them with relief from challenging situations, thoughts, and feelings can sometimes turn to addiction as a means of compensating for that loss. By learning new ways to cope with things that cause you distress, you lower your odds of relapsing or returning to old behaviors and habits. A 2014 study that analyzed the relationship between life skills and substance use recovery in university students concluded that learning life skills was an effective preventative measure.
Just like any skill, you need to practice life skills to retain them. This means that they may begin to change or degrade over time unless you actively work on them. Some people simply never learn them to begin with; growing up without role models or education for expected behaviors and socio-psychological coping mechanisms leaves plenty of people lacking these skills outright.
Being unable to regulate your emotions or adequately express yourself is a high-risk factor in substance abuse and relapse. You need to learn life skills that keep your recovery moving forward. Throughout the process of rehabilitation and aftercare treatment, your therapist and group support leaders will work with you to help determine which knowledge you are missing and learn to incorporate healthy coping mechanisms into your sober life.
Learning specific behaviors and thought patterns will help you attain crucial life skills. These skills and the means of developing them tend to fall under broad categories. These ten categories of life skills are what keeps society functional and communities working together. You can learn to incorporate each of these methods into the way you interpret and respond to the world around you. Each of the following categories includes a handful of associated ways of acting and thinking that you can learn in therapy.
A few of the life skills you can learn in therapy include time management, setting personal goals, and creating healthy relationships that can go on to become part of a support system that helps you stay on track in recovery. Your therapist will explain in detail why new abilities are essential to success and show you how to work them into your everyday routine. You will learn these new ways of thinking in both group and one-on-one therapy sessions, though the format may influence how they are taught.
While undergoing treatment at a facility, you will live in close proximity to a number of like-minded people and work with staff for hours each day to learn new and better ways to live healthily. Below are three valuable life skills you can use to lessen your stress levels while undergoing treatment and to ease the transition of returning home.