Executive Function Strategies Blog

Activating Teens with a Summer Project to Build Executive Functioning

This turbulent school year has finally reached its end! But now that summer is here, many of you may be shifting into this new season with some concerns: What will my teen do if they’re not returning to camp? Will my teen be screen-bound for hours on end? Will my teen sleep all day and stay up all night, messing with their circadian rhythm? All of this upcoming downtime provides a host of new challenges, especially if you’re beginning to play the perilous game of overseeing your teen’s summer without creating conflict or managing outright rebellion.

But what if this surplus of free time could be viewed as an opportunity for your teen to explore their interests in order to build skills?



Adulting in 2020: 5 Key Tips for Resilience from a Recent College Grad

We’ve finally reached the halfway point of 2020, and I think I speak for just about everyone in saying that these past 6 months have felt more like 6 years. A global pandemic, widespread economic uncertainty, mass unemployment, and now, historic protests against police brutality and racial injustice in every major US city - all of which have already cemented 2020 as an infamous year in the history books. Although many of us have been privileged enough to stay healthy, employed, or out of harm’s way, that doesn’t negate the fact that we’re also human - which means that this constant uncertainty and chaos is bound to take a toll on our mental wellbeing. 

Everyone has their own stories of how the pandemic has upended their lives. I’d like to share a bit about my own experience, as well as five insights that I’ve picked up along the way that have helped me stay resilient and adaptable in uncertain times. 



How Martial Arts Training Helps Develop Executive Function Skills

Editor’s note: This week, we feature guest bloggers Michael Keesler and Jason Navon of Fox and Ferns Mental Health in Philadelphia, PA. Please read more about Michael and Jason below.

In fall of 2000, a 16-year-old Michael Keesler took his first class at the Asheville Taekwondo Academy. It would be the first of many classes to follow, each beginning with bowing in and reciting the tenets of the school: Honor, Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control, Courage, and Community. Fast-forward nearly 20 years and Michael – now Dr. Keesler – trains less, but has a new and altogether different appreciation for martial arts training.



The Anxious College Student: An Executive Function Connection

College students have plenty of fuel for anxiety. They’re in a social and academic environment that’s significantly different than any that they’re used to. They’re often trying to balance course work with a job - in addition to social and family obligations. And they’re doing all this while also trying to chart out a plan for their entire future (and trying not to think too hard about all the student loans they’ll need to repay upon graduation). While that is a lot to handle, some of that anxiety can be mitigated with upgrades to the way that they manage their demands, or their Executive Functioning. The two students you’ll be reading about show the connection between anxiety and Executive Function - and how learning more effective self-management techniques can help to lighten the emotional load.