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Several sports coaches also stated that they promoted life skills transfer without applying specific strategies i. However, this study included only high school basketball coaches and community swimming coaches, reducing the generalisability of the findings to other sports settings. In addition, the question remains as to how community sports coaches can enhance the personal development of socially vulnerable youth in comparison to the athlete groups currently studied.

Research on the influence of sports participation on the personal development of socially vulnerable youth has been strongly based on the positive youth development paradigm Damon, Damon, W. What is positive youth development? The present study aims to complement this body of knowledge by adopting a salutogenic perspective. The salutogenic model was introduced by Antonovsky Antonovsky, A.

Health, stress and coping.

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Unraveling the mystery of health. How people manage stress and stay well. Socially vulnerable youth face these stressors on a daily basis, and being able to deal with them effectively is crucial for their personal development, as it may help them to lead a healthy and productive life.

The association between stress, sense of coherence and subjective health complaints in adolescents: Sense of coherence as a potential moderator. Stress and Health , 27 3 , e — e The sports setting might be a setting in which socially vulnerable youth can learn to develop the strategies and to identify the resources that can help them to deal with the challenges of everyday life.

Taking a salutogenic perspective, we aim to understand how community sports coaches create optimal social conditions for life skill development and transferability. Antonovsky's Antonovsky, A. The salutogenic approach is complementary to the pathogenic approach, which focuses on the causes and risk factors for disease. According to Antonovsky, people are confronted with stressors throughout their lives, and being able to deal with them allows individuals to move forward, to develop and to lead a healthy and productive life.

Stressors in themselves are not negative; on the contrary, they can be salutary if people are able to deal with them effectively.


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In order to deal with the stressors of everyday life, people need to develop strategies, for example by avoiding stressors, by defining them as non-stressors or by managing them Antonovsky, Antonovsky, A. For this latter strategy, it is important that people are able to understand the challenge they are facing, identify resources to deal with the challenge and feel that dealing with the challenge is meaningful. This ability to deal with everyday-life challenges is reflected in the salutogenic concept of sense of coherence SOC. The resources that can be used to deal with stressors are called general resistance resources GRRs , which can be found within the individual e.

The salutogenic model aligns well with the positive youth development paradigm, as both appreciate the assets and resources that youths have available to meet the demands of everyday life, rather than focusing on the risks or stressors in young people's lives. Nonetheless, current salutogenic research in young populations is limited.

Sense of coherence as a predictor of risky health behaviours amongst teenage girls on a targeted youth development programme.

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Journal of Public Mental Health , 12 3 , — Sense of coherence and emotional health in adolescents. Journal of Adolescence , 35 2 , — Self-reported mental health and sense of coherence among Swedish and Greek adolescents. Understanding the joint effects of family and other developmental contexts on the sense of coherence SOC : A person-focused analysis using the classification tree. Journal of Adolescence , 36 5 , — Risk and protective factors predictive of sense of coherence during adolescence.

Journal of Health Psychology , 12 2 , — Strengthening sense of coherence: Opportunities for theory-building in health promotion. Health Promotion International, Online First. As sport is often seen as a promising setting for positive youth development, taking a salutogenic approach we aim to complement the current literature in the field by investigating how community sports coaches create optimal social conditions for life skill development and transferability.

Enhancing life prospects of socially vulnerable youth through sport participation: A mixed methods study. BMC Public Health. Interviews were conducted with 15 sports coaches 9 male, 6 female working with socially vulnerable youth in local sports clubs. All these sports coaches provided training at community sports clubs, sometimes located in local schools. The sports coaches offered different types of sports see Table 1.


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The length of their experience in training socially vulnerable groups differed, as well as the extent to which they received formal coaching training. Youth care organisations in the Netherlands provide services to youths who are temporarily experiencing problems in their personal development, for example because they have learning or behavioural problems or because they live in settings that hinder this development e.

The Dutch youth system contains three layers of care, of which the primary layer i. This includes school social work, educational counselling services as well as more specialised mental health care. Detailed information about the sports coaches. CSV Display Table.

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The sports coaches were selected after consultation with the youth care organisations about the local sports clubs with which they often collaborated. The coaches were chosen in such a way that there was a large variation in type of sports, age and sex of the sports coach, as well as experience in training socially vulnerable youth. The selected sports coaches were contacted and asked whether they were willing to participate in the interview; they all agreed.

They were asked to give informed consent on the understanding that they had the right to leave the study at any point in time without giving a reason, that the interviews would be tape-recorded and that their anonymity would be guaranteed. The interviews were conducted by two researchers SS and KV and lasted between 20 and 62 minutes on average 43 minutes.

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The interviews took place at the interviewee's preferred location. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the sports coaches. The interviews started with background questions addressing the training experience of the sports coaches, the composition of the teams they trained and their pedagogical background. Several training scenarios were described to the sports coaches, and they were asked to imagine how they would respond in each of these scenarios. The scenarios described different types of youths and addressed various types of problem behaviour that are often prevalent in youth care settings.

Intersectoral action to enhance the social inclusion of socially vulnerable youth through sport: An exploration of the elements of successful partnerships between youth work organisations and local sports clubs. Social Inclusion , 3 3 , 98 — In preparation for the interviews, the main investigator SS conducted two pilot interviews to ensure that the interview questions were comprehensible and that the scenarios were understandable for the interviewees.

The interview recordings were transcribed verbatim style and then coded and analysed using software for qualitative data analysis Atlas. In order to ensure anonymity, all the participants were assigned pseudonyms. A thematic analysis was conducted following the guidelines by Braun and Clarke Braun, V. Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology , 3 2 , 77 — The initial coding was conducted by the first author SS.

A deductive approach guided by the salutogenic model was used for the analysis. Codes relating to the salutogenic model were mapped onto the data set. These codes were based on the salutogenic literature Antonovsky, Antonovsky, A. After the initial coding, the codes were ordered in themes, and a thematic map of the data was produced.

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Codes that did not fit the themes were reviewed to see whether they formed a new theme. On the basis of these codes, the second author KV coded half of the interviews. The coding was compared to ensure that the data segments were categorised correctly. A first version of the results section was drafted by the first author SS using quotations from the transcripts. The results section was then reviewed by the two other researchers KV and MK to ensure that the text rendered an accurate description of the data.

The results section is divided into two segments. The first section deals with the coaching actions to create optimal conditions for life skill development and transferability. The second section deals with the question of how sports coaches approach the transfer of life skills in community sports settings. The sports coaches had specific ideas on how to create a sports environment in which socially vulnerable youth could develop and learn life skills.

The results are structured on the basis of the three SOC elements. When asked about the overall philosophy of offering sports to socially vulnerable youth, all the sports coaches replied that offering fun activities for youths was most important. Sport was considered an outlet for youths because of the opportunities it creates to forget about the issues they had to deal with in everyday life.

Offering fun activities was essential in keeping youths engaged in the sports lessons as it ensured that they would return every week: When they are having fun, they will come. When they are not having fun, they will stop coming. Or they have to come because of their parents.

And when they are not having fun, they will become annoying. Besides enjoyment being considered a precondition for youth engagement, it was also considered a prerequisite for life skill development and transferability. And you will never get to the second point [personal development].