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Shake it out: Releasing stress through movement

September 20, 2013
Director of School Counseling, Tracie Epes, guest speaker Judith Fischer, and School Counselor, Nicole Cologne

At the All School Meeting, Friday, September 13, dance-movement therapist and counseling professional, Ms. Judith Fischer walked students through various practices to relieve stress.

This ASM was sponsored by Madeira’s Health and Wellness Center to raise awareness of the value and harms of stress. As Ms. Fischer explained during her presentation, stress is natural, and it can be both helpful and harmful. Stress can keep us on task and motivated, but can also have negative effects – both physically (tension in shoulders, headaches, etc.) and emotionally – if not released. The main focus of Ms. Fischer’s talk was how to use movement and exercise to release stress.

Ms. Fischer led students through three exercises with different tempos. The first was a fast-paced release to “Everybody” by the Backstreet Boys. (Watch a video clip.) Next students grooved to the reassuring words of Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds.” During the final exercise students grounded themselves as a trees swaying in the wind to a melodic instrumental – finding their center and strength. After each exercise students gave feedback about how they felt and their own individual experience. Ms. Fischer explained that repetition of stress releasing exercises – whether through movement, breathing, or just walking in nature – help to reorganize our brain patterns allowing us to become better able to work through stressful moments in our lives.

The exercises were fun – and, yes, there was a little silliness involved – but students and faculty both walked away with a better understanding of what stress is and ways to cope with the impending stress that comes along with an academically challenging school year.

For more information about Ms. Fischer see her biography at the Institute for Advanced Psychotherapy Training and Education, Inc.  

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