Executive Functions in the Brain: What Are They?
Executive Functions in the Brain: What Do They Do?
Executive functions in the brain are the group of skills that allow us to perform everyday tasks in life. They are responsible for how we stay organized, solve problems, regulate our emotions, and much more. Now you may be wondering, “Where are executive functions in the brain?” These cognitive controllers are located in the frontal lobe and prefrontal cortex of the brain. The executive functioning prefrontal cortex is constantly sending signals to help us process information then deliver the appropriate behavior. For example, if you have a project due next week, your executive functioning prefrontal cortex would tell you not to procrastinate and to start working on the project now. This would save you emotionally from the stress that may come from waiting until the last minute. Let’s take a look at other ways executive functions in the brain help us react.
Another instance of how our executive functions in the brain work could be how you react during a conversation with a colleague. If someone says to you they received a promotion, your executive functions would likely tell you to exude, “Congratulations!” and a happy reaction. However, while it may seem like the brain can perfectly execute these responses, many people actually have executive functioning disorders. Struggling with your cognitive behavior towards situations or with your emotions in life can be signs of poor executive functioning in the brain. If we look back on the examples earlier, instead performed with executive function deficits, you’d likely do the opposite behavior. You’d probably leave your project until the last minute or not complete it, avoiding turning it in at all. When a friend reveals happy news to you, you may go silent, feel aggressive, or walk out of the room. Now knowing these behaviors, how else can we be more aware of executive functions in the brain?
Executive Functions in the Brain: Recognizing Poor Executive Functions
When it comes to improving executive functions in the brain, the first step is to recognize the signs of poor executive functioning in the brain. We can then understand how our actions connect to these parts of our brain. Having a hard time staying on task, managing tasks, or your motions, can be indicators of executive functioning disorders. In students, executive functions in the brain may need improvement if they can’t make a schedule, turn in homework, or concentrate on tests. Emotional difficulties may be inability to control negative emotions or appropriate responses. Likewise, it is common for those with executive function deficits to also struggle with mental health disorders such as depression or anxiety. Many adults suffer from poor executive functioning in the brain as well. For instance, often forgetting appointments, struggling to manage relationships, or trouble with scheduling their month. However, the important thing to remember is that our brains are constantly evolving and adapting to experiences in life. Thus, in the brain, executive functioning disorders can always be improved on. Improving executive functions in the brain begins with understanding the three main areas of executive functions.
Executive Functions in the Brain: The Three Main Areas
Our executive functions in the brain are always in use for any situation we’re faced with. Let’s take a look at the three main areas of executive functioning of the brain: working memory, cognitive flexibility, and inhibitory control. Working memory is the skill of retaining information then putting it into proper use. Cognitive flexibility is used when our brain views scenarios and settings in different ways. Inhibitory control is responsible for keeping us focused and avoiding distractions. For example, you have an assignment due tomorrow but are tempted to watch your favorite show. Your executive function skills would tell you to prioritize finishing your project to avoid emotional distress. However, those with brain executive functioning disorders have one or more deficits in an executive functioning part of the brain. Additionally, many aren’t aware of these functions, how they work, or of how enhancing them can transform their life completely. Fortunately, no matter how much someone has poor executive functioning in the brain, it can alway be improved by training with an executive functions coach. Now that we’ve learned the main areas of executive functions in the brain, let’s cover how we can improve them
Executive Functions in the Brain: How to Improve Them
There are different approaches to training executive functions in the brain. However, in this blog, we will be covering specifically, executive functions coaching. When it comes to the brain, executive functioning improvement can be done by a professional coach. On the first meeting, an executive functions coach should take time to understand the client and their specific difficulties in life. Each of these difficulties are applicable to an executive functioning part of the brain. A coach should correlate executive functioning in the brain and offer explanations to help the client understand. After assessing, an EF coach typically works with a client on a personalized plan to achieve their goals with weekly check-ins. As such, an executive functions coach is centered around goal-oriented coaching. Though they can teach strategies for mild emotional challenges, they are not a therapist or psychologist (unless they have the licenses). As mentioned earlier in the blog, those with brain executive functioning disorders often have mental health disorders. If you are struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, do research if a coach contains credentials to treat these diagnoses. Without a license, they should not interfere with mental illness challenges but instead should refer you to a therapist or psychologist. Combined emotional and mental support gives optimal help when growing your executive functions in the brain.
Lastly, it’s never too late to train your executive functions in the brain. No matter if you’re an adult or a student, executive functions in the brain can be enhanced. As long as it takes for a client to feel assured they can use these skills on their own, a coach will be there to support them building executive functioning of the brain. So don’t be afraid to try EF coaching and enhance your executive functions in the brain!