What is sophrology?

A holistic, complementary well-being technique that has been gaining popularity recently, sophrology is seen as a modern evolution of mindfulness and meditation. Blending together Eastern philosophies with Western science to create balance, tap into your own resilience, give you the strength to deal with life’s challenges and open you up to happiness, sophrology was first developed in the 1960s by neurologist and Professor of Psychiatry, Professor Caycedo.

Woman laying in a field of white flowers

Offering a structured method to optimise health and well-being, sophrology consists of a series of easy-to-do mental and physical exercises. When practised regularly, it can encourage you to have a healthier, more relaxed body and a calm, more alert mind. Particularly popular amongst athletes to increase their mental and physical performance, sophrology has been gaining more popularity and attention as mindfulness has entered the mainstream.

What can sophrology help with?

Combining relaxation, meditation, gentle body movements, breathing and visualisation techniques, sophrology allows for a stronger mind-body connection. Offering a combination of mental and physical health benefits, many who try sophrology report it helps with:

  • feeling relaxed, recharged and able to re-centre
  • achieving more restful, uninterrupted sleep
  • boosting energy levels  
  • improving focus and relieving stress
  • encouraging and teaching to enjoy each moment as it happens
  • decreased feelings of worry and anxiety
  • increased feelings of confidence and happiness

For those who struggle to meditate for longer periods of time, sophrology can be a good alternative with similar benefits. Practising just five to 10 minutes before stressful events or situations such as meetings or presentations can help you to feel less nervous and overwhelmed whilst boosting feelings of calm and confidence.

Incorporating just a few simple breathing exercises and relaxation techniques as part of your daily routine between meetings, or during your commute, can help you to feel more prepared to face and overcome challenges more positively while enhancing your feelings of confidence and well-being.

What to expect from a sophrologist

Sophrology can be practised alone or with the guidance of a sophrologist. Typically, you will start sitting or standing while your sophrologist talks through a series of basic exercises. This often starts with focusing on each part of your body, tensing them, releasing, and energising them.

They will then guide you to focus on a specific subject, such as noticing how your body is experiencing calmness. This allows you to be able to reproduce these physical sensations of calmness more often at will in your day-to-day life. With regular practice, these states can be integrated into your everyday life.

Depending on your own needs, you can ask your sophrologist to help guide you toward improving performance for public speaking, increasing calmness for exams, focus for sports competitions, and more. These exercises can all help strengthen and improve your abilities.

By combining various mindfulness and meditative techniques, sophrology could be the technique that offers a rounded approach for those unsure of what suits them. Why not give it a go for yourself?

This article was updated on 27/06/23

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Written by Bonnie Evie Gifford
Bonnie Evie Gifford is a Senior Writer at Happiful.
Written by Bonnie Evie Gifford
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