Monday, March 4, 2013

Executive Functions Skills Development Tips

The ability to consistently practice the Executive Functions skill of monitoring oneself by using a standard, leads one to correct, adapt, and become more efficient. Monitoring can be a gateway that prompts self-assessment, impulse control, and even short and long-term working memory, all of which are executive functions skills in their own right. Of most import though are the following three EF skills which are required for self-monitoring:

  1. Mental Flexibility: the ability to shift from one task to another, or between emotions even. It can also mean to transition smoothly, even in if the shift is unplanned, and sudden. Mental flexibility is a key skill that when coupled with emotional control, can set a nice platform for increasing emotional intelligence.
  2. Problem Solving: Requires ability focus and sustain attention in a goal directed manner, in order to surmount a challenge, solve a problem, find an answer, or solution. 
  3. Metacognition: Thinking about your thinking. It is how you approach the world.

Usually, a  standard is needed as an exemplar of what to monitor one's actions against. In fact, parents are children's first standard in the world. They learn to talk, act, respond, mimic, and modulate their behavior according to what they monitor in their parents. Other standards which may even take greater precedence over the course of a lifetime include Teachers, friends, family members,  and of most importance, God.  In fact, in the book of Isaiah, which is found in the Torah, or the Old Testament of the  (KJV) Holy Bible, God literally sais that he is the "Standard."

  1. Activities to actively strengthen your self-monitoring skills are:
    1.  self-talk: Am I doing what I need to be doing right now?
    2. reminders and questions
    3.  meditation
If you are not monitoring, you are not active. Try to understand why you are doing what you are doing. Do periodic self-examinations. Monitoring feedback gives potentially gives you the ability to moderate and modulate. 

Start by monitoring your paraverbal skills, or how you say what you say. Paraverbal skills are incredibly, incredibly important. One's state of being directly influences intonation, speed, and attitude in which a statement can be made. A comment can be received as a compliment, or as sarcasm, depending on how it is said. 

Lastly, or at least for the sake of keeping it short and sweet, by self-monitoring, you force yourself to pay attention to guidelines you have chosen to incorporate. This requires discipline. Coach Bill recommends that kids meditate 2x's per day. One time before school, and one time right after school. They should aim to meditate one minute for every year old they are. So a 7 year old, would work up to 7 minutes. Meditation is a scientifically proven way to boost self-monitoring skills, as well as all of one's Executive Functions skills, sensory skills, and hemispheric brain balancing.

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