I remember when I first experienced high levels of stress. I couldn’t function properly, I felt tired all the time and kept having various ailments, like small infections, dizziness and even fainting spells. I was only a teenager and my life was busy with studying and basketball practice.
At the time, my parents reached out to multiple doctors, trying to uncover the issue. I had a number of tests, but they couldn’t find anything “medically wrong” with me.
This was almost 30 years ago, I was living in my native Switzerland and my GP suggested some medication, but it didn’t take effect. I still felt faint, dizzy, exhausted and I was worried all the time. Since he couldn’t find anything physically wrong, he resorted to something unexpected. I didn’t know it at the time but his next course of action was going to change my life for the better; he suggested Sophrology and referred me to a practitioner. Sophrology had been very popular for some time in my native Switzerland and other European countries, so I decided to try it.
When I went for my first Sophrology session, it was wonderful to be listened to by the practitioner and find out that the causes of my stress could be linked to how I felt deep inside and how I had let unnecessary pressures from my family and my school affect my health. My Sophrologist asked me to close my eyes and guided me with her soothing voice through an amazing combination of relaxation, breathing, visualisation and movement techniques. It felt very easy and natural to follow. Not only did I start to feel better after my first session, I was instantly feeling more energised and hopeful. After five sessions I felt a total shift in my energy levels and I was becoming more positive, more empowered and my perspective changed. A weight had been lifted off my shoulders, my fainting disappeared, my body was healing from those infections and perhaps for the first time of my life, I felt I could be in control of my state of happiness.
Sophrology is a transformative practice that taught me positivity is a state of mind and body that naturally comes through repetition of the practice. I later qualified as an Osteopath and later as Sophrologist. I was fortunate to be trained by Dr Alfonso Caycedo, the Founder of the method and my passion is now to share the life-changing power of Sophrology with as many people as possible.
Reducing stress with Sophrology
Let’s face it, times are particularly difficult and uncertain for many of us at the moment and if we already were stressed and anxious before, this pandemic will surely not help unless we start to be proactive about our mental wellbeing. Brain fog, worries, difficulty sleeping, being suddenly tearful or feeling exhausted or lonely are some of the many symptoms we may feel at the moment.
While it may all feel overwhelming, we can still take back our sense of control by actively lowering our stress levels and helping our consciousness to shift towards a more balanced and positive mindset in our daily life. If we learn how to do this, we will learn how to free up a lot of “real estate” in our minds.
If we actively reduce our stress, we can feel more energetic and more able to face whatever life throws our way. While this may sound complicated, there are simple ways to jumpstart this transformation process like taking a few minutes to practice Sophrology during the day to acknowledge how you feel and reconnect with your body. It doesn’t require a lot of time and can be adapted to all ages and abilities, it’s just about learning the basics and being consistent with it, at least 10 minutes 5 times a week.
Anyone can benefit from Sophrology
Sophrology is a truly simple but powerful mental wellbeing practice that allows you to transform your life for the better by working on your consciousness, the force that unites mind, body, emotion and experiences. Created by a neuropsychiatrist back in the 1960’s, Sophrology has been well established in Europe for 50 years and even reimbursed by health insurances in Switzerland and France.
Sophrology has been proven to transform mind and body positively (1). Studies have found that practising Sophrology regularly has a beneficial effect on the mind, notably activating the brain’s alpha wave state, which is restorative and creative. If you want to understand more about the science of Sophrology you can do so on this website.
Sophrology encourages you to shift to a more positive way of thinking, raising your energy levels and enabling you to create and attract the life you want. Stress melts away, leaving your mind and body, while your main focus is on pleasurable sensations within your body and focusing on building a new awareness and opening up to new possibilities.
Start connecting with your positive self and try it
Positivity is a state of being, resilience and consciousness that allows you to acknowledge what is going on for you and knowing how to respond to it in alignment with your deepest needs. Important disclaimer, it is not about being happy all the time but about how you are able to respond to whatever life throws at you.
When you feel overwhelmed, instead of reaching for a snack, a drink or your phone, why not decide to shift the energy through the power of scent? I personally find Anatome’s Balance + Stability Essential Oil Blend or Support & Protection Room Spray very effective at instantly helping me to connect to a different energy (2,3).
Then you can build on this with a short Sophrology practice I’m sharing below:
Sit on a comfortable chair and close your eyes if you can. Monitor your body and breath by placing your hands on your abdomen, and feel if your abdomen moves as you breathe. Stress breath is a chest breath so you might do a conscious effort in raising your abdomen slightly as you inhale and letting it fall when you exhale.
Then can you feel a tension in your body that is a reflection of the stress or negativity you find yourself in today? If you for example feel a tension in your chest, then simply inhale, tense your chest and on your exhale relax the chest and let go all tension through your outbreath. You can repeat this on any part of your body for a little while until you feel you need to pause. Relax completely for a moment in your chair, observing how your breath goes back to its natural pace and invite a positive intention (an image, a pleasant memory or sensation) through your breath before you open your eyes.
You can dive deeper in Sophrology in a short online course, Move Forward with Positivity. I also recommend the Shoulder Pump exercise as a great way to release pressure (4).
By Dominique Antiglio, Master Sophrologist