How to Sharpen Executive Functions: Activities to Hone Brain Skills
written by Adele Diamond, Ph.D., posted on Attitude Mag
Executive functions (EFs) refer to a family of mental processes that allow us to reason and think before acting, meet new challenges head-on and with flexibility, and stay focused and concentrate, and more. So essential are executive functions to our well-being that they have been described as the mental toolkit for success.1 Often, EFs can be more predictive of academic and career success than either socioeconomic status or IQ.2
To improve any executive function, practice is critical. EFs need to be continually challenged — not just used — to see improvements. (That goes for both children and adults.) However, EF training and practice alone will not achieve the best results. EFs blossom most when we lessen things that impair them (like stress or sadness) and enhance the things that support them (like joy or feelings of belonging).