Victoria Hall

Is Sophrology The New Mindfulness?

Sophrology

Mindfulness is a term that has been thrown around for the past few years. While some are well-equipped to meditate for ten minutes a day in a bid to be more present, others struggle to employ rigorous self control after a long day at the office and a yoga class feels more like 60 minutes of torture rather than much needed relaxation. For the latter there is a new approach making waves in the UK and it’s called Sophrology.

While Sophrology might be relatively new to the UK, it has been around for years and is popular across the continent. For some, the mix of visualisation, positive thinking and breathing techniques might still feel a bit too similar to mindfulness practices, but if you’re au fait with a yoga class but haven’t quite mastered the art of meditating this could be worth looking into.

What is Sophrology?

The word Sophrology means the science of consciousness in harmony. Essentially it’s still about connecting with yourself, but it takes a more practical approach with gentle stretches and movement (both sitting and standing), as well as breathing and visualisation techniques. If you nail the philosophy you should find managing your stress levels easier, see an improvement in your sleep patterns and generally feel more confident and self-assured.

How does it differ from traditional mindfulness?

While both methods encourage you to be more in-tune with yourself, Sophrology goes one step further to ensure that your body keeps up with your mind and is just as well maintained. It’s for this reason that people employ the Sophrology method before an important meeting or competition. In Switzerland, senior students are offered sessions in the lead up to their exams to keep anxiety, stress and nerves at bay.

What should you expect from a Sophrology session?

‘Sophrology can be practised in groups or in an individual session with a Sophrologist. After a brief discussion with the clients about what they want to achieve during the session, the Sophrologist will use his or her voice to guide them through a sequence of simple exercises including relaxation, breathing, visualisation and gentle movement,’ explains Dominique Antiglio, author and founder of BeSophro.

Where to start…

First and foremost, you have to work out which issue you want to tackle, be it overcoming nerves for an up-coming work event or generally just lowering your stress levels. There are Sophrology sessions available, but if you’d rather start at-home BeSophro offers online classes and if you can wait until September, Antiglio will be releasing her book to guide you through her 12-step method.

Middle-Aged Brits Are The Most Miserable People In The UK

unhappy_vh

Its been quite a week. What with England failing to make the final of the World Cup after being defeated by Croatia on Wednesday; the unexpected but much appreciated lengthy heatwave beginning to cool off; and the various political tussles that we’re not even going to touch on. It’s not surprising that some of us are feeling a little blue. If you’re aged between 45 and 59 years, this week might have hit you harder than most.

A new survey has revealed that middle-aged Brits are the most miserable, unfulfilled people in the UK. Health is the most common reason for unhappiness among this age group. Those who believe their health is bad are 14 times more likely to be unhappy than those in good health. However, being separated, divorced, unemployed or unhappy in their job and renting rather than owning their home can also play a role.

On the other end of the spectrum, students and those in early retirement are likely to be the most content and if you’re young, educated and married you might just be living your best life.

For the rest of us, here’s a few tips on how to boost your happiness levels…

Move more

Plenty of studies have proved that regular exercise not only improves our health, but also increases our endorphin (happy hormone) levels. This doesn’t mean you have to sign-up to a gruelling, sweaty spin class or hit the gym five times a week, instead find an activity you like and schedule it into your week where you can. Walking, running, swimming, you name it. It could even be a lifestyle change, such as walking to the train station rather than jumping on a bus, or walking up the stairs rather than taking the lift. As long as it raises your heart rate, you’re doing alright.

Look after your gut

Researchers are still exploring the impact our gut has on the rest of our body, but some studies have indicated a link between a healthy functioning gut and our emotional wellbeing. While any good quality probiotic should help promote good bacteria, Florassist Mood by Life Extensions has been specially formulated to help not only rebalance the bacteria in our gut, but also to improve the signalling between our gut and our nervous system.

Make a list

This is particularly useful if you’re feeling unhappy or unfulfilled at work. Making a list of what you like and don’t like, as well as where you’d like to be in the future can help give negative thoughts a constructive twist.

Take time out

For some this might be meditating or partaking in a yoga class, for others it’s binging on trashy TV or reading a book. Taking time for yourself doesn’t have to be virtuous, you just need to switch off from the tensions and dramas of day-to-day life and relax. We recommend investing in Soul Medicine’s Inner Smile Mist to set the tone. Admittedly, this is no mean feat if you have young children, but where possible having a little me-time and checking out can help you relax.

Have a clean-up

There’s the saying ‘tidy home, tidy mind’ and having a good deep clean of your home, desk or car could really help make space in your mind. If you need any more encouragement, it’s also been proven that you sleep better in a tidy bedroom.

Is The Hot Weather Giving You Rage?

Heat Rage

Last week we called it a heatwave, but with the high temperatures set to stay for at least another week it looks like we’re in the midst of the summer we’ve all been dreaming of for the past 20 years. While most of us have been thoroughly enjoying the bout of hot weather with BBQs, picnics and paddling pools, you wouldn’t be alone if you’ve found yourself struggling in the heat.

Whether someone nudges you on the tube, undertakes you on the motorway or jumps the queue in Sainsbury’s, it’s likely to irritate you more than it might usually as your your patience could be more frayed. In fact, there are plenty of studies to show that the heat really can bring out the worst in us. One such study in 2001 found that hot temperatures increase aggression by directly increasing feelings of hostility. Last year, a study revealed that retail workers are 50 percent less likely to actively engage with customers if it’s hot outside.

How can you reduce this rage? The obvious answer would be to stay away from human beings for as long as the heat lasts and relax in that paddling pool. In reality, it’s about keeping cool, calm and hydrated. Scientists believe that dehydration could play a key role in increasing irritability in the heat. In 2012, a study showed that women who lost 1.5 percent of their body’s normal water content were tenser and more anxious.

We’ve recommend Physicool Rapid Cooling Mist, £12.99, several times over the past couple of weeks for the simple fact that it’s inexpensive and cools you down almost instantly. You can mist it over your face, across your pulse points and onto your ankles and feet.

It might also be worth investing in Florassist Mood by Life Extension £26. While taking a probiotic to help keep your rage in-check might sound a little far-fetched, there are links between our nervous system and gut. Florassist Mood helps with the signalling between the two and can genuinely help balance your mood. And with no end for the hot weather in sight, it’s worth taking them now.

How To Keep Hold Of The Post-Holiday High

Post-Holiday High

Whether you’ve spent a week hiking through the Peak District or lounging by a pool in Spain, a holiday is a sure fire way to kick back, relax and reduce your stress levels. But how long does that post-holiday glow last for when you’re back in the swing of things? According to new research it takes just three days for us to lose that new lease of positivity and energy. Read More…

How To Keep Cool In The Heatwave

Heatwave

The weatherman has lived up to his promise and temperatures across the UK are rivalling Europe’s. Most of us aren’t sat on a beach, sipping an ice-cold Margarita and watching the waves softly break. Instead, we’re clock watching in stifling offices or hustling with thousands of sweaty, irritable commuters to board a train. All is not lost though, here are some helpful pointers to keep you cool and calm throughout the heatwave…   Read More…

Sun Protection: The Ultimate Guide To SPF

sun and ocean

Yes, we should all be wearing a minimum of SPF 15 every day, regardless of the weather, but a lot of us only really start considering sun protection around this time of the year. Whether you always leave it until the last minute and make a last minute dash in duty-free or you prefer to take time to consider your options, here is a straightforward guide to provide you with all the information you need to make the right selection. Read More…