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19 January 2018
A relatively new practice, sophrology was founded in 1960 by Professor Alfonso Caycedo. Both a neurologist and psychiatrist, Caycedo travelled the world in search for answers toward improving one’s mental health. He believed that society had conditioned people to focus more on external factors than their own inner well-being.
Visits to Switzerland, India and Japan helped provide Caycedo with a well-rounded understanding of multiple disciplines, including Buddhism, Yoga and Japanese Zen. Through these disciplines, sophrology was created. “Sophrology” comes from the Greek words “Sos” (Harmony), “Phren” (Consciousness) and “Logos” (Study of).
Sophrology aims to help people manage their stress and negative emotions through physical and mental exercises that, when practiced regularly, will allow someone to live more calmly. Sophrology helps you to maintain an alert mind in a relaxed body.
Because it finds its roots in yoga, the practice is similar to meditation and “being mindful”; it requires you to be present. Moreover, many of the practical and breathing techniques are also a derivative of yoga.
During a sophrology exercise, you will either sit or stand with your eyes closed as a sophrologist talks you through basic positions, such as focusing on a particular part of the body. After this, you will be guided to focus on something that is important to you and/or you seek improvement on – from relationship building to public speaking.
After practicing sophrology, most people begin to notice that they are sleeping better, feeling happier and more confident as well as experiencing less and improved concentration.
Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Practicing sophrology can start at any point in your life and still provide limitless benefits. Here are 3 examples of how sophrology may prove to be beneficial – besides being able to sleep more soundly:
What am I going to do with my days?
Aren’t I going to be bored?
Will I still feel useful?
While I personally may be counting down the days until retirement, I know that there are plenty of workaholics out there who fear the day when they will have to fill their free time. Often, questions arise and certain apprehensions appear once time is void of a routine schedule, percolating feelings of loneliness, boredom or even death. This can mentally consume individuals, ironically filling their time being occupied by negative thoughts. That’s where sophrology can help.
The more candles we have on our birthday cake, the more our memory can play tricks on us. By methodically working on concentration, imagination, and creativity all while putting the body into action, Caycedian sophrology can help you exercise your memory. Yes, you can actually train your memory similar to physical exercise! A memory “workout” requires immersing yourself in memories and happy moments, which sometimes can also help one face less pleasant situations. Our memory is invaluable; we must preserve it, which is where sophrology can help.
3. Taking care of yourself
Once our other obligations are taken care of, we rarely leave time for ourselves. However, it’s often what we do to take care of our inner wellbeing that helps us achieve our other goals. Taking this time is NOT selfish; it can actually make us more available to others.
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