October is Emotional Wellness Month, with October 10th officially being designated as World Mental Health Day. At Montgomery School we care deeply about the emotional well-being of our students and strive to support them in that area as they learn and grow. Students of all ages will undoubtedly experience stress at different points in their lives. While we cannot eliminate stress completely, we can work together to teach students healthy coping strategies for managing difficult emotions and setbacks. Here are two techniques that you can try at home when your child feels distressed:
1. Name the Emotion:
What it is: In his book, The Whole Brain Child, Dr. Dan Siegel tells us that when a stressful event occurs, we can weaken the feeling we have in response by simply naming the feeling. He calls this process “Name It to Tame It.” This is a simple, yet effective technique.
How it works: When you find yourself in a situation that’s causing stress, try to identify which emotion or emotions you’re feeling and say them out loud or write them down.
Why do it: Putting emotions into words activates a part of the brain that helps reduce feelings of distress and the physiological response to emotional stimuli.
2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation:
What it is: Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a technique designed to help your body relax. Because the body and mind are connected, relaxing your body can help reduce tension, anxiety, and associated emotions.
How it works: Find a quiet place and get into a comfortable position (sitting or lying down). Start with your feet. Tense all the muscles in your feet as hard as you can and hold for 5–10 seconds. Then relax for 15–20 seconds, taking long, deep breaths and paying attention to how your muscles feel. Repeat with your calf muscles, then thighs, etc., until you've covered your entire body.
Why do it: This routine helps turn off the sympathetic nervous system and regain a sense of calm.
Additionally, I wanted to share how students and families are supported by the School Counselor at Montgomery School. School Counselors help all students by:
- Providing school counseling lessons
- Collaborating with parents, teachers, and administrators for student success
- Directly supporting students with check-ins / goal-setting / academic planning
- Providing parent education on topics related to mental health and well-being
The school counselor does not provide long-term and ongoing therapy services, but is happy to provide recommendations for these types of support as needed.
As always, reach out to me if your child is struggling emotionally. I look forward to working with you to support your child’s growth and well-being.