Be the Boss of Your Brain

Executive functioning is a term that describes how the human mind sorts through stimuli to achieve complex goals. While the brain performs thousands of involuntary actions every minute of every day, it is the higher set of cognitive skills that constitute executive function.

To be the boss of your own brain, take a closer look at how your mind operates. NeuroZone can assess your executive functioning in real-time and advise you on how to empower your thinking. We have three convenient locations in Southern California: Playa Del Rey, Santa Monica, and Redondo Beach. Please feel free to contact us online or call (310) 821-3640.

A Word About Physiology 

Cognition is a wonderfully integrated process. You can filter emotions through your brain as you initiate fine motor skills and remember an important detail that you need to recall for your upcoming meeting. In short: your mind is a powerful force. The most concentrated swarm of executive function activity takes place in the frontal lobes of the brain.[1] 

Behavioral cues surge through the frontal lobes with astounding efficiency. The way you interact with the world around you is courtesy of how you perceive external stimuli and react accordingly. Your frontal lobe interprets stimuli, strategizes the appropriate response, and draws upon memory and forethought to guide your next move. 

When your executive functions work in harmony with each other, you may barely notice that a thought process is even occurring. But when executive dysfunction sets in, each step of your thinking may be disrupted. To better understand the dynamics of executive dysfunction, let’s analyze a case in point…

Executive Function in Action

Nobody enjoys cleaning their apartment, but it is a necessary evil. If you only have two hours before a dinner party and your place is a mess, then it becomes an urgently necessary evil. In order to prioritize and execute all of the hundreds of small duties that must occur between now and mealtime, your frontal lobes must initiate their optimal executive functionality.

First, you need to think about the processes that require the most time, like the laundry. Your washing machine and dryer take approximately an hour and a half to run a full cycle of clothes, and your garments are strewn about the apartment liberally. Your executive functioning has thus prioritized the laundry as your first order of business. While the machines are running, you can busy yourself sweeping and doing dishes. Multitasking is another great example of an executive function.

But wait! You just remembered that you ran out of dishwashing liquid. Memory is now playing a part in your integrated thought process, superseding the mundane activities in which you were just engaged (like sweeping). Digging further into your memory banks, you assess which nearby stores are open, which ones sell dishwashing liquid, and which ones accept credit cards (because you just realized you ran out of cash).

Your mind is spinning several proverbial plates in this scenario. Your memory guides your planning skills to map out your next moves, your organizational skills monitor your internal clock to make sure you don’t forget to switch your laundry from the washer to the dryer, and your behavioral barometer mitigates your stress level as it slowly rises.

If – heaven forbid – an unexpected obstacle intrudes upon your cognitive pathway, it will add more distress to the brain, placing more emphasis on executive function. Say, for example, the washing machine breaks down. Your clothes are soaking wet, the basement is covered in water, and your focus has been thoroughly pulled away from your other minor chores. Now you need to make a big decision: do you cancel the dinner party or forge ahead? How will you react if your guests notice the disarray triggered by laundry night? These are the hallmarks of executive functions put to the ultimate test.

The Correlation Between ADHD and Executive Dysfunction

Understanding the complexities of the human mind can help us diagnose and treat various cognitive conditions. Take, for example, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Studies show a strong correlation between the existence of ADHD and executive function deficits (EFDs).[3] Kids who struggle with ADHD have trouble prioritizing tasks because when one becomes difficult, it can disrupt the next task and the next task. The domino effect takes over, creating feelings of being overwhelmed, all due to one major obstacle in the chain of executive functioning. 

The link between ADHD and EFDs persists into adolescence. As life becomes more complicated, the burdens placed upon a growing teen can add up and feel insurmountable. Specifically, the inattention-disorganization dynamics exacerbated by ADHD begin to overwhelm one’s executive functions.[4] By losing focus momentarily, a person can lose their place, missing the ensuing steps in a class or project. The inability to “catch up” can accumulate, placing further stress on the mind’s ability to concentrate. It can feel like an impossible vortex for a young brain wrestling with executive functionality.

The Developing Mind

The human brain is a playground, especially when you’re a kid. Creativity whirls through a child’s mind and thoughts bounce in and out of focus with shocking rapidity. But it is never too early to assess how the brain is developing. 

The ages of four to twelve offer a fascinating window into the world of a developing human being. Executive function is still taking shape, thanks in part to the dueling forces of nature and nurture. Nature gives the brain its internal contours and physiology. The frontal lobe is still growing during the formative years, so nutrition and exercise are important to facilitate healthy physical development. But nurture is a bit more difficult to quantify.

Evidence suggests that you can greatly influence the executive functions of a young mind by challenging it with a suite of engaging activities. Cognitive games can spur certain thought processes, bolstering a young person’s self-awareness. When they are cognizant of how their mind works, they can pursue thoughts and behavior that further feeds their flourishing brains. It creates an upward cycle of improvement and benefits their executive function for years to come.

Benefits of Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback Los Angeles

Executive function is a nebulous concept, encompassing psychology, cognition, behavior, and emotion. That’s a lot to pack under one umbrella. But when you see executive function in motion, you can understand just how vibrant it is.

Neurofeedback training gives you the chance to study the ways in which your own brain works.[5] By engaging in a series of fun, simple exercises, you can watch how your mind reacts to stimuli. You are basically mapping out your executive functions in the form of visible brainwaves. Neurofeedback training allows you to identify how you perceive the world in order to change your outlook. When you understand how your mind functions on a foundational level, you empower it to function on several higher levels. 

Eligible Candidates

Kids as young as two years old can engage in neurofeedback training. The process is non-invasive; the only current flowing through the electrodes is the energy flowing from your mind. Participants simply need to be able to focus on a computer screen and follow the instructions for the duration of their session. 

Private Consultation

To learn how neurofeedback can guide your quest to strengthen the executive functioning part of your brain, please contact our Southern California offices online or call (310) 821-3640. The first step in conquering a task is to understand it. By making strides to reach out and improve your life is a great example of executive function in action. We celebrate your bravery and we are eager to join your journey.


How much does neurofeedback cost in California?

In order to provide the best care at the right price, first we need to understand your needs and goals. NeuroZone offers free consultations to initiate the process of mapping your cognitive landscape. From there, we can recommend the best course of action, whether it is in the realm of speech and language or memory training. We also help a number of clients who are struggling with anxiety without prescribing expensive and potentially addictive medications. The answers to so many of life’s problems are lurking in the human brain. By exploring it together, perhaps we can find the information you seek.


  1. Otero T.M., Barker L.A. (2014) The Frontal Lobes and Executive Functioning. In: Goldstein S., Naglieri J. (eds) Handbook of Executive Functioning. Springer, New York, NY. 
  2. Diamond, A., & Lee, K. (2011). Interventions shown to aid executive function development in children 4 to 12 years old. Science. 333 (6045) 959-964. DOI: 10.1126/science.1204529
  3. Biederman, J., Monuteaux, M. C., Doyle, A. E., Seidman, L. J., Wilens, T. E., Ferrero, F., Morgan, C. L., & Faraone, S. V. (2004). Impact of Executive Function Deficits and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) on Academic Outcomes in Children. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72(5), 757–766.  
  4. Martel, M., Nikolas, M., & Nigg, J. T. (2007). Executive function in adolescents with ADHD. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. 46 (11) 1437-1444. 
  5. Hammond, D. C. (2007). What is neurofeedback? Journal of Neurotherapy. 10 (4) 25-36. 
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