The benefits of sophrology
What is sophrology?
Sophrology was founded by Columbian doctor and neuro-psychiatrist Professor Alfonso Caycedo in the 1960s. It is a type of dynamic meditation (great for those who find traditional meditation and sitting still difficult) that is designed to help you focus on the present and be in the ‘now’. It is different than other meditative practices because it engages both the mind and body, which allows you to enter into a state of full relaxation more quickly and easily.
It involves a combination of proven breathwork techniques, relaxation, light body movement, meditation and visualisation techniques designed to bring you into the ‘alpha brain wave’ or ‘flow’ state. In this state, the body achieves complete relaxation, yet the mind is clear and fully alert. This ‘peak’ state conditions the mind and body to become less stressed, calmer, sharper, and more resilient over time.
Who would benefit from sophrology?
Sophrology is really beneficial as a support tool to help those who are constantly on-the-go and prone to taking on the stresses and pressures that surround their busy lives. Practised daily, it can be an incredibly helpful method to support our mental health, especially during times of high stress and fear like many people are experiencing currently.
The routine of life and work can be overwhelming and tiring, so the deep relaxation element of sophrology will help the body and mind to de-stress and recuperate, which is really important in preventing burnout for example. With regular practice, sophrology helps you to become more mindful of your needs, your limits, your strengths and capabilities, so you can create more happiness in your life.
What are the other benefits?
There are so many holistic benefits to practising sophrology in general. It helps you learn how to overcome stress and decrease anxiety, rebalance your energy levels, dramatically improve your sleep, prevent work burnout and physical/mental exhaustion and increase your confidence and self-esteem to allow you to achieve your goals.
Sophrology has actually been widely practised in France, Belgium and Switzerland for decades by everyone from school children to Olympic athletes to help sharpen focus and boost mental and physical performance. Arianna Huffington is also a big fan. And the practice is so effective that it is even used in sleep clinics and hospitals in Switzerland to aid sleep problems like insomnia.
Can sophrology help manage anticipatory anxiety?
Yes – one of the principles in sophrology states that we can decide how we are going to experience certain events even when we can’t change them. We are therefore responsible for our experience and how we respond to situations. This is the key differentiator to mindfulness or meditation, and why it is so appealing to so many people – it is a great tool to help you with preparing for events i.e. presentations and interviews, where you are nervous or lack confidence. This re-conditioning of the mindset is why it is so popular with competitive athletes.
How long does it take?
Practice takes just 10 minutes (try to practice daily for maximum effect) and you can practice any time you have some downtime. Personally, if I feel tense, just practising for five minutes is enough to relax me instantly. You’ll be surprised at the opportunities you’ll have during the day – sophrology can fit into your daily routine so there’s less effort involved.
So, how do you practice sophrology?
The ‘Life-Changing Power of Sophrology’ is a great introductory book, designed for those looking to discover the practice, and for those looking practice more regularly, we have an online course – Relax, Reset and Overcome Stress.
Practice with us!
To help bring a bit of calm to a very chaotic time for the world right now, we have launched a new series of free guided Sophrology sessions on social media that anyone can enjoy from home over the next month, to help manage mental wellbeing, alleviate stress and anxiety, calm fear, boost productivity, improve sleep and more.
The sessions will be streamed on Instagram Live at @besophrolondon and are completely free of charge. Each session will last just over 30 minutes and you’ll be joined by people from all around the world!
The guided sessions will take you through simple but highly effective techniques to help you manage everyday stress and achieve calm when anxiety, nerves and fear take hold. You’ll also learn how to reframe pressurising situations into more positive states, and gain an understanding of how to tap into your resilience and confidence when you need it most. It’s a powerful practice for people with busy minds and busy lives to get ahead of their worries and gain a new perspective during times of stress, uncertainty and chaos.
- 14 April, 8 pm – Calm and Productive
- 16 April, 8.15 pm – From Fear to Clear
- 19 April, 8 pm – The Power of Intention
- 21 April, 8 pm – Instant Calm
- 23 April, 8.15 pm – Positivity in Chaos
- 26 April, 8 pm – Embrace The Future
- 28 April, 8 pm – Grounding Here and Now
- 30 April, 8.15 pm – From Solitude to Gratitude
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