WHO’s 10 Core Life Skills & Why We Teach Them

What are Life Skills?

Life skills are behaviors that enable individuals to adapt and deal effectively with the demands and challenges of life. There are many such skills, but 10 core life skills laid down by WHO are:

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Empathy
  3. Critical thinking
  4. Creative thinking
  5. Decision making
  6. Problem Solving
  7. Effective communication
  8. Interpersonal relationship
  9. Coping with stress
  10. Coping with emotions


Self-awareness includes recognition of the 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 and for developing empathy with others.


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. 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.

Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking is the 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.

Creative Thinking

Creative Thinking is a novel way of seeing or doing things that are characteristic of four components – fluency (generating new ideas), flexibility (shifting perspective easily), originality (conceiving of something new), and elaboration (building on other ideas).

Decision Making

Decision-making 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 the health assessment of different options and, what effects these different decisions are likely to have.

Problem Solving

Problem-solving 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. Problem-solving is the process of identifying and resolving conflicts or problems. It involves breaking a problem down into its component parts, thinking about possible solutions, and then choosing the best one. Problem-solving is an important skill for everyone because it helps us identify and solve problems in our lives, work, and communities.

Interpersonal Relationship

Interpersonal relationship 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.

Effective Communication

Effective communication 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 stress levels by changing our environment or lifestyle and learning how to relax. Coping with emotions means recognizing emotions within us and others, being aware of how emotions influence behavior, and responding to emotions appropriately. Intense emotions like anger or sadness can have negative effects on our health if we do not respond appropriately.

Coping with Stress

Wrong beliefs like “I’m not good enough” or “Something is wrong with me” cause up to 95% of all illnesses and diseases. 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.

Coping with Emotions

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.

The ability to control our emotions is something that we need to learn from a young age and it is something that we need to learn for the rest of our lives. It is a skill that will help us to have better relationships with other people, it will help us to be more productive at work and it will also help us to live happier healthier lives.

Why teach life skills? Why are Life Skills Important?

Life skills education contributes to basic education, gender equality, democracy, good citizenship, child care and protection, quality and efficiency of the education system, the promotion of lifelong learning, quality of life, and the promotion of peace.

Developing Life Skills early on in life makes your child ready for the future, and instills leadership qualities, moreover, they help children be more adaptable, confident, and empathetic. Read more about why should we focus on building life skills in the early years.

How Does NutSpace Build Life Skills?

NutSpace uses stories to build Life Skills as well as 21st Century Skills in Children. Stories lie at the core of all our lesson plans. We use stories to encourage discussions, critical thinking, problem-solving, communication skills, talk about relationships, kindness, and much more. NutSpace is on a mission to raise happy, kind, and confident children by fostering WHOs 10 core life skills using stories.

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Rohini Vij

Rohini is a professional storyteller, educator, listed & certified Jolly Phonics UK trainer, curriculum developer, parenting coach, founder of NutSpace. She is on a mission to raise readers and is actively engaged with curriculum development for schools and her own ed-tech platform - Nutspace Edtech.

7 thoughts on “WHO’s 10 Core Life Skills & Why We Teach Them”

  1. It is very much helpful for parents, teachers and every who is interested in the development of children.
    Thank you for the wonderful article.


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