When you wake up in the morning, what do you notice? The sunshine glimmering gently through the curtains? Birds twittering playfully to each other? …or only the shrill tone of an alarm clock and the prospect of a stressful day?
How we see the world – and, in fact, what we see – is coloured by our state of mind. And if your mornings are more the latter, it could be that you’re living in survival mode.
We are not meant to live in survival mode; it’s supposed to be a temporary situation which helps us to keep our head above water until the seas calm again. But, when we’re constantly living in a state of turbulence, we can get so used to paddling furiously just to stay afloat, that we quite forget to ask ourselves: “Is this the life I chose?”.
Becoming aware of our personal values plays a vital part in answering that question; acting as a compass, our values can help us get back to ‘dry land’ when we’ve drifted from what makes us feel happy, fulfilled and motivated.
Recognising when you’re ‘off course’
Let’s say you are someone who values freedom and novelty (a free spirit, some might say:) Working in a call-centre cubicle for 8 hours per day will likely have a far greater negative impact on you than, say, someone who values security and routine. However, if you are not aware of why your job isn’t working for you, you might attribute your lack of motivation and feeling trapped to being ‘bad’ at your job, or resign yourself to the fact that ‘this is just life’. Consequently, we relive the same day of treading water, paying bills, sleeping and repeating. Just …surviving.
To work towards a life of joy and purpose, we need to know what direction to take. Sophrology can help us to improve our self-awareness, and to reflect on, and observe, the choices we are making, and how they align with (or conflict with) what’s important to us.
Sophrology can help us reconnect with our values
Change is hard, and gaining a better sense of who we are, requires that we be utterly open and honest with ourselves – a daunting prospect for many of us! But practising the techniques used in Sophrology helps us to deepen our relationship with ourselves from the safety of a calm and peaceful space. From there, we can ask those tough questions about our lives that can lead us to identify our personal values, like ‘What’s important to me?’. What makes life worth living for me? What do I want out of life?
When we know what our values are, and move towards a life that embraces them, we can begin to enjoy a life that we have actively chosen for ourselves.
So how does Sophrology help us get there?
From surviving to thriving – with Sophrology.
Sophrology is based on the idea that we all have access to an inner wisdom, which can help guide us towards our true paths. Using mindfulness, meditation and gentle movement techniques, we can learn to reconnect with our true selves in a way that we may not have done for a very long time. In fact, those who practice Sophrology often describe their experience as life-changing; by learning to revisit positive experiences in their lives, they have been able to focus more positively on the present, and make more insightful decisions on their future.
Importantly, Sophrology is not about getting rid of negative emotions; rather, it’s about acknowledging and understanding our thoughts, feelings and sensations, so that we can consciously change our relationship with them. Through this reflection, Sophrology helps us to discern our true personal values from expectations and ‘norms’ that we may have adopted over time; often so gradually that we don’t notice them creeping into our psyche – over years, or even decades. This is another great thing about Sophrology; it can be practised by anyone, at any age, so it’s never too late to hoist your sails, and set off in a better direction – metaphorically, or literally:)
Sophrology techniques in practice
The Sophrology method was created by neuropsychiatrist, Alfonso Caycedo, with a view to creating a system which could help develop human potential and address many mental and physical health issues. Having been inspired by practices and philosophies from around the world, including Buddhist meditation Zen, Yoga, psychology, and phenomenology, Caycedo succeeded in developing the method which is now used today. It is important to note that it was the practice – and not the spiritual belief – of Eastern approaches that Caycedo drew from.
The gentle movements used in Sophrology allow us to relax and let go of tension in our body, which is crucial for improving our mental health. Also, by having a greater awareness of what our bodies are doing when we’re stressed or anxious, we can learn to control our reactions.
Mindfulness helps us to stand back and to observe what is happening around us without judgement or criticism. It enables us to accept things as they are while also allowing us to change them if we wish.
With practice, we progress towards meditation, where we discover the peace of simply ‘being’. With meditation, we can learn to become free in mind and body to make choices about how we wish to respond. This is key to changing our experience of everyday life and improving our wellbeing
Learn to use Sophrology for positive change
Professional Sophrologists who teach the techniques have an in-depth understanding of why Sophrology is so effective, and the profound changes it can bring about for those who practise it. At the Sophrology Academy, we provide a range of programmes, workshops and free events, to help you further understand the potential that you have to choose, and follow, a life of value and purpose – for yourself and your loved ones, through Sophrology.
Reconnecting with our values is the first step to living the life you want; isn’t it time to reset your compass, set sail – and start thriving? 🙂