What is Sophrology?

Sophrology is a simple practice for self-development and stress-management that uses breathing, relaxation, meditation, body awareness and visualisation techniques. It is an evolution of meditation where you learn to tap into your resilience and strength to deal with life's challenges and create more balance and happiness.

You can use it to improve the quality of your sleep, to increase your energy levels and focus, to relax and let go of anxieties, and to learn to enjoy the present moment. It is also a great tool to use when preparing for important meetings, interviews or presentations when you are nervous or lack confidence.

In a session, while sitting on a chair, you usually close your eyes and are guided by the Sophrologist's voice into a state of relaxation. You invite your body to relax through a body scan and learn to let go of possible tensions in your mind using your breath. The session may involve standing work using simple moves like head rotation or shoulder pumps, or deep tummy breathing so you learn to listen to your body and understand how to centre yourself through it. It can also involve powerful positive visualisation where you see yourself succeeding in a certain situation you want to prepare for. The relaxation is beneficial for recuperation, the breathing balances your physiology, the gentle movements help you unveil new awareness about your mind set and body. Sophrology means "the science of consciousness in harmony" so it is a practice designed to help you feel more balanced and resilient.

How can Sophrology help you in the workplace?

All professionals are under consistent pressure - targets, information overload, long working days, and the need to be highly focused is a part of daily work-life. With the demands required at work, it can be difficult to achieve a healthy work-life balance, so physiological limits are tested and energy levels can suffer which can have a detrimental effect on their personal lives. I see professionals at all levels for Sophrology sessions - those professionals come to me as they realise they can no longer function in a manner that is healthy in their work or home environment and need a practical solution to help them achieve clarity and the confidence to deal with tense situations. For these professionals, the first step is to understand there is a problem and then having the confidence to put plans in place to improve their working patterns and put their wellbeing first.

Some firms already acknowledge the need to help employees manage stress levels to reduce the likelihood of burn-out but more implementation is needed. I have been teaching Sophrology in workplaces for some time and have noticed that it only takes one person to speak out to forever change the culture of a business for the better. It goes back to those attentive and self-aware leaders who can use their personal experience to empower others.

Dominique's top wellbeing tips:

  • Always seek self-improvement - it is not a flaw but a mind-set that will really help you flourish
  • See a Sophrologist who can help you to instil practical coping mechanisms in the workplace
  • Seek down-time. Find time to invest in yourself and recuperate - go to the gym, go on holiday etc.
  • Rest and downtime is productive and will allow you to be more productive in the long-term
  • Work to live, don't live to work!

Dominique Antiglio is a Sophrologist and founder of BeSophro in Mayfair, London, which launches a 21-Day Online Sophrology Course in April. Her new book The Life Changing Power of Sophrology is out on 19 April. (be-sophro.co.uk)