If you want to keep your immune system going strong from dawn to dusk, Sophrology could be the answer
Have you ever started out your day feeling invincible, only to feel worn down by the time you crawl into bed? The daily ups and downs of our days can chip away at our immune system, leaving us vulnerable to infection, but incorporating some simple Sophrology routines into your day could help. “Sophrology involves a combination of calming breathwork, relaxation techniques, light body movement and positive visualisation exercises that oxygenate the brain and body,” says Dominique Antiglio, sophrologist at BeSophro and author of The Life-Changing Power of Sophrology (be-sophro.com). “Every time you practise Sophrology, you teach the body to recognise that it is safe in the present moment, and this takes the body out of the fight or flight response and activates the body’s repair and regeneration mechanisms, so your immune system is better able to fight off bacteria and viruses.” Try Dominique’s 10 mini routines to help you sail through your day.
As you wake up, whether naturally or through your alarm, practise consciousness by pausing for a few seconds, closing your eyes again, taking a gentle breath in and welcoming how you are feeling first thing that morning.
Once you have acknowledged your first sensation, emotion or thought, look around the room for something you are grateful for. It may be a photograph of someone you love, your stylish new bedside table, or just being alive and being offered a new day. Take in the positivity and bathe in it for a few moments before continuing your day.
Be aware of not automatically reaching for your phone to check emails or social media as it can put you into a reactive mode rather than keeping your mind clear to choose how you want to go about in your day, and how you intend to respond instead of just reacting to events and people. The more you are able to stay centred and connected to yourself, the less likely you will stress out.
If you feel anxious or stressed as you wake up, take a few minutes to do a standing Sophrology exercise to deal with the tension. Stand tall and bring both hands to your chest. Inhale, then exhale as you open your arms and reach down to touch the floor. As you do this, exhale out the tension. On the inhale, bring yourself up and your hands back to your chest, remaining aware of your connection to the ground. This is a quick moving meditation that will stretch your body, oxygenate your brain, help you process tension and set you up with a more positive response.
On your way to work, or before you start work at home, take a minute to ‘check in’ with yourself. With eyes closed, think through your goals for the day and imagine yourself completing them well and successfully. Allow yourself to feel the positivity associated with those achievements. This visualisation exercise (that is regularly practised by athletes before important competitions) is a simple way to build positive intention, create focus, and boost your motivation and confidence for the day.
An afternoon slump is natural; it’s part of your circadian rhythm so don’t fight it. Instead, fit in a ‘power pause’ practice to supercharge the body’s need to rest. Sitting or lying down, do a quick body scan with the intention of relaxing each part of your body. This will bring you into the alpha brain wave state, a state of deep recuperation for your brain, and will help you sustain your energy and focus for the rest of your day ahead.
At the end of the day, try not to preoccupy yourself with work or anything that causes tension. Leave it at the door, or allow yourself to switch off after a certain time at home. Ask yourself what you can let go of before you enter your evening – it can be a tension in your body, an emotion or stress that has been with you during the day that no longer serves you. Treat your evening like it’s a fresh start.
Make sure you move your body actively at
least once a day – it can be a 30-minute power walk around the block for example. It’s important to keep the body active so everything including your immune system functions as best it can.
If you need an extra boost of energy before a big meeting for example, incorporate a Sophrology technique called The Pump. Standing tall, exhale through the mouth, inhale then hold the breath, Now vigorously “pump” your shoulders up and down to get the muscles moving and blood circulating quickly again. Then relax and breath out. Repeat three times and head into that meeting with confidence and renewed energy.
Before you head to bed, do something that you enjoy to instil a sense of wellbeing and safety. When the body feels safe, it is better able to fall asleep and the immune system is less susceptible to stress, which can compromise its ability to function at its best. It helps to reinforce your body’s resilience.
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