Executive Functions Nourish Well-Being

Updated: May 8

Changes in a human’s brain over time are due entirely to challenges and experiences during the individual's lifespan. Human beings undergo psychological, mental and social growth even in late adulthood. Well-being is the way a person feels about themselves and their lives. Individual well-being is impacted by various key life activities, including executive functions, like planning, organising, prioritising, self-monitoring, maintaining self-control, managing one’s time and preserving working memory. Executive functions play a significant role in the well-being of all humans, helping and challenging people to improve while instilling self-confidence. The various functions are sets of cognitive processes necessary for the cognitive control of a person's behaviour. These functions help select and successfully monitor actions, thereby facilitating the realisation of one’s goals. The discourse herein discusses how executive functions, especially organisation, planning and prioritising daily tasks, can improve adults’ well-being.

An adult experiences several stressful periods in life arising from the many responsibilities imposed on them. Society expects them to demonstrate leadership in their families and workplaces and be at the forefront of the nation's leadership. Globally, there has been an increase in stressors impairing adults’ psychological and mental state. Cases of depression have been on the rise, which is solely due to the pressure imposed by society. Adult well-being is meaningful to the public because it integrates physical and mental health (Yuan and Raz 2014). Firstly, since planning is an executive function, it plays a significant role in adult well-being. Planning relies heavily on visual memory and its manipulation. An adult’s ability to plan and execute goals gives a sense of creativity in pursuing the defined goals and objectives. A person able to plan improves their well-being, especially being an adult (Fabio and Capri 2017). Good planning leads to success and goals are easily attained. Adults consistently exhibiting good planning techniques win and improve, even as they age.

Secondly, organisation is a crucial executive function that improves adult well-being. It relies heavily on the manipulation of visual memory. Through this function, an adult can visualise an efficient way to organise objects. Adults require this function in their daily lives, especially at home or work, where they have a leadership role. The organisation of materials entails keeping personal items neat, orderly and ensuring that everything is in good shape (Sharfi and Rosenblum 2016). Adults use organisational skills to plan and ensure that everything around them runs smoothly and efficiently. They can effectively manage and ensure that available resources are properly distributed amongst members at the family or work level. There are also responsibilities associated with sharing. Adults use organisation as an executive function to allocate duties within the family and at work, thereby giving them a sense of well-being.

Prioritising is an executive function that enables adults to determine the order of preference for essential tasks. Adults can decide on a goal and prepare a plan for how to execute it. Having preference helps them remain focused and tackle a critical task, thus improving their well-being (Lagattuta and Kramer 2017). Organising items or activities help preserve welfare, thereby resulting in an adult receiving a proper schedule of duties they are expected to undertake. Self-monitoring is a concept showing how much human beings monitor their presentation and the effectiveness of their nonverbal communication and expression. For an adult to exhibit well-being, their behaviour, relationships, and ability to perform various tasks must be assessed. Self-monitoring gives adults the power to regulate behaviour and adapt to social situations (Magen 2017). Monitoring, by an adult, also helps keep stakeholders organised and could easily avoid frustration. Grown persons can easily behave appropriately, and children can learn from them. This allows children to develop a unique personality from adults’ self-monitoring habits, thereby improving adults’ well-being.

Adults exhibiting self-control can manage their impulses, behaviour and emotions, helping them achieve their long-term goals. Self-control is a crucial driver of behavioural change. Therefore, adults will high self-control improve their well-being because they avoid temptation from things that can ruin their lives (Diamond 2013). When frustrated or humiliated by a third party, they can contain their emotions and, therefore, not overreact but act appropriately. An adult who lacks self-control responds with violence and anger and can easily cause harm or injury. Although adulthood is expected to be perfect, this is often not the case. Some end up losing control and committing acts they later regret. Therefore, adult well-being may be improved through self-control, ensuring that everything is right at any given time.

Time management is a crucial attribute in an adult’s life. The time taken to complete a task will depend solely on how one has planned to use that time. Time is always fleeting, and without proper management, it is challenging to finish things on schedule. A grown person is usually working or managing businesses. Therefore, proper time management means that productivity will increase, thus improving an individual's well-being (Purdy 2016). Time becomes limited as people age; hence an adult must plan and manage time to prevent frustration.

Lastly, working memory is a cognitive system with a limited capacity to store information temporarily. An adult already has a working memory because of their brain’s maturity; therefore, the working memory represents the brain's administrative function. During late adulthood, the working memory starts to fade, negatively impacting a person. Having a working memory helps adults organise their activities, thereby improving their well-being (Braver and West 2008). Working memory can best be maintained through mental exercise and adopting a healthy, balanced diet.

Executive function plays a significant role in life by shaping how people think, work and engage with others. The various executive functions work together to ensure that everything runs smoothly. The rate of depression among adults worldwide can decrease if all executive functions can be applied to improve people's well-being. Moreover, life expectancy will increase, and they will be able to lead longer and happier lives. Every human being should exist in a state of psychological, mental and social well-being; otherwise, healthy precautions can be taken to prevent further damage.