Emma is an 18 year old French student who has been practising Sophrology regularly since her first Sophrology session when she was 14 years old. Sophrology was recommended to her by her GP, as she was anxious and had difficulty focusing at school.
S: Hi Emma, how did you decide to try Sophrology?
E: When I was 14, my mum got a new job and we decided to move so I had to go to a new school. I found it a bit hard to adjust and I was missing my old friends a lot. I started becoming a bit anxious, but I didn’t notice that it was anxiety at the time. I started to have frequent tummy aches and my back was often painful as well. I was always tired in the morning but couldn’t fall asleep easily at night. I was also finding it hard to cope with my emotions.
I opened up to my mum and grandmother and they were very supportive but didn’t really know how to help me. I went to see my GP in France and he thought Sophrology could help, so I agreed to give it a go.
S: Do you remember your first Sophrology session? How did you feel after your first session?
E: I didn’t really know what to expect but I had tried meditation before to fall asleep and I thought it would be similar. I remember discussing the meaning of stress at the beginning, which I found very reassuring because I developed more understanding as to why I felt sick sometimes. I was also pleased to hear that there are solutions!
We did some breathing exercises and I remember yawning a lot! I was glad to discover that sophrology was much more dynamic than meditation and actually quite fun. I remember thinking that the part where we do movements and pump the shoulders was very liberating! I really liked the relaxation. I remember feeling very calm after my first session!
S: How do you think Sophrology has helped you?
E: Looking back, I think it definitely helped me feel less anxious and more organised, so it was easier to concentrate. I used to be very easily distracted when doing my homework and Sophrology helped a lot.
I was always easily distracted because of my phone and I remember doing a visualisation exercise where I had to put my phone in a big air balloon while doing my homework to help me focus. I still use this visualisation today!
It’s funny how doing such a simple thing can make such big changes in the long run, because I’m probably one of the most reasonable out of all my friends when it comes to using digital devices! (I still use social media though ;)) And now that I am at university, I think it helps me a lot to remain positive and to project myself positively even if I still don’t really know what I want to do later in life.
S: We did some sophrology sessions to prepare for your Baccalaureate. How did that help?
E: For me, it helped a lot for oral exams! I had this fear that I would literally freeze on the spot, but we worked on my anxieties and I knew I had tools to release any tension when I needed to. For instance, at the beginning of the exam, when I was waiting to begin, it was very important for me to use these tools because of the big build-up of stress.
We also did a session where we visualised having finished the exam and I really liked it. It helped me feel less pressure and “de-dramatize” the exam.
I applied all the things we talked about in terms of sleeping well, concentration, taking breaks and it helped a lot!
S: Do you still continue practising Sophrology?
E: Absolutely! Although, now that I’m at Uni, I’d say my focus with Sophrology is more on boosting my self-confidence and lowering anxiety towards the future, while continuing to learn and reinforce the resources in me to create a better future self, even though I have no idea what it is right now!
We actually just did a session on this and I found it very inspiring because I just started to lack motivation, but now I feel back on track!
I think Sophrology also taught me that there are lots of ways for me to feel good. I used to think if I was stressed, there was only a good session at the gym that could help (I have a lot of energy!). But my sophrology sessions made me realise there are lots of other aspects to energy, stress and anxiety and that I can always find a strategy that suits me.
When I was telling my friends I was going to my sophrology sessions last year, sometimes I could see they did not fully understand why. But it is like my secret weapon and it helps me feel strong!
Try Sophrology out for yourself with our online course, Relax, Reset and Overcome Stress.
Please don’t hesitate to share your experience of the practice through BeSophro’s social media, BeSophro is always happy to hear from our readers!