For the past few decades, mindfulness has been a hot topic in the business world. With over 1,300 apps to choose from, the wellness market has become ridiculously saturated. Prepare to be introduced to sophrology, the new alternative to mindfulness in business.
From the Greek “sos” (harmony) and “phren” (mind), sophrology is the study of consciousness, to put it in very broad terms. It’s a neuroscientific relaxation method involving both mental as well as physical exercises. Compared to previous stress-reducing exercises like mindfulness and meditation, sophrology is said to cover a much wider scope in terms of technique. It may not be all that different from mindfulness and meditation in terms of benefits; however, the exercises are far less intensive.
Sophrology claims to allow those who practice it to take that mental “time out” they so desperately need. Those who do it on a regular basis have claimed:
- Generally feeling more positive
- Feeling more energized
- Having reduced stress, feeling less anxiety, or being more creative
- Dealing with upcoming challenges more easily
- Having an inner calm
What is Sophrology, Exactly?
Neuroscience has revealed that our breathing patterns and our physical tenseness can affect both emotions as well as the neural pathways activated in our brains. In short, how we feel emotionally significantly impacts our body chemistry.
For example, one exercise in sophrology may be to just close your eyes, inhale, and then hold it for several seconds while you tense up all the muscles in your body. Then, upon exhaling slowly, release the tension at the same time.
One of the most appealing aspects of sophrology is how simple the exercises can be. You don’t need a yoga mat or much room beyond your own personal space.
Like a lot of wellness and mindfulness techniques that have become trendy in recent years, sophrology is another import from Europe. It’s even offered in universities in Switzerland and France.
Bringing Sophrology In The Workplace
Businesses are no strangers to introducing stress management programs into the workplace. Dominique Antiglio, founder of BeSophro and author of The Life-changing Power of Sophrology, suggests that one session of sophrology can help an employee feel calmer and more in control of their workday.
It’s not a surprise, in today’s fast-paced environment, that eight out of ten Americans experience high levels of stress and anxiety in their daily lives. It is somewhat alarming that businesses have been slow to realize that a healthy employee is a productive one.
Actual workplace wellness programs only began in the mid-1970s, after twenty years of noticing an increase in alcoholism and mental health issues.
Today, business wellness is a $4.5 trillion industry, ready to leap on any trend. There are only a handful of certified sophrologists currently employed in the U.S., suggesting the practice has plenty of time to grow.
Kenny Hedges | Contributing Writer