So today marks the start of mental health week and in this COVID-19 weary world when even the most robust and resilient of us are feeling the fatigue it is a wonderful opportunity to keep the conversation on our mental health active.
Talking about our mental health should not be something we are afraid to do. But for many of us recognising our state of mental health does not come naturally. We are all to often disconnected from ourselves, taken up in the hubbub of our daily lives. So how do we reconnect?
Education is of course key. We need to be teaching our kids from a young age to recognise and be comfortable with their emotions. Companies need to continue learning how to support the mental health of their employees. We all need to learn how to recognise our own positive and negative mental health triggers?
So where does sophrology fit in?
Sophrology is a well-being and personal development method which offers you your very own well-being support structure. As a Sophrology Practitioner I see every day how learning the techniques to slow down, tune in, listen and reconnect with the physical, mental and emotional self helps my clients heal and grow.
Through the regular practice of Sophrology you learn exercises which combine soft physical movement, controlled breathing, muscle contraction and release, positive visualisation and meditation which help you connect and listen to your body and mind, develop your self awareness, find calm, focus and energy and increase your general wellbeing and resilience. Sophrology is all about developing your natural listening skills and developing positivity and self awareness. This is why it is such a powerful technique in creating a positive mental health environment.
But there is no time like the present to start your self-awareness journey so why not try out this quick ‘flash pause’ practice. It will only take two to three minutes. Are you ready?
Stop what you are doing right now. If you are sitting place your hands in your lap. If you are standing allow your hands to drop down by your sides. Now close your eyes and take a few deep breaths in through your nose, breathing out slowly. Then return to natural breathing. As you breathe ask your self : “How do I feel?” How does my your body feel? Are there any points of physical tension in my body? What are the physical sensations (heaviness, lightness, warmth, cold, tension….)? How do I feel at this precise moment in time? What emotion am I sensing? Just notice the feelings and sensations, becoming aware of their presence and where you feel them in your body. Now take another deep breath in through your nose, hold your breath and tense all the muscles in your body for a moment. Then breathe out through your mouth releasing the tension in your muscles and letting go of any mental and emotional tension. Just breathe normally. When you are ready open your eyes and return to what you were doing.
You can repeat this exercise at various intervals during the day noticing how your body and mind feel. This exercise is wonderful at drawing your focus into the body and provides you with a moment of connection and tension release. When practiced regularly this exercise will teach you become more aware of your body and on how it holds both physical and mental tension.
Pamela BOUTIN BIRD - Sophrology and Wellbeing Practitioner