My burn-out
My burn-out

Sophrology against stress and burnout

Sophrology against stress and burnout

Sophrology, an efficient tool in the fight against stress and burnout, is, according to its founder A. Caycedo, a “teaching method on how to live, a therapy of the human being”. It aims to positively energize the qualities and resources at our disposal in order, initially, to have a better knowledge and perception of ourselves but also of our environment.

By strengthening us and making us more confident, sophrology brings greater well-being into our lives, an opportunity to let go of stress and anxiety, and leads us to develop our potential to achieve our goals, while remaining in harmony with ourselves and the others.

History of sophrology…

A mixture of Western science and Eastern philosophies

Created in the 1960s by Professor Alfonso Caycedo, sophrology was originally intended to help people with mental health problems. By working on the different states and levels of consciousness, he wanted to improve the overall medical treatment of mentally-ill people and bring them greater well-being.

Naturally enough, his work led him to study human consciousness, its different states and the various ways it can be modified.

To build this discipline, he was inspired by many sciences and practices that have been used both in the East and in the West and whose goal is to understand the nature of the link that unites the body and the mind in order to bring greater well-being in the individual and a better balance between oneself and others. Thus, he was instrumental in uniting the sciences of the West (phenomenology, hypnosis, clinical studies, relaxation techniques, etc.) and the ancestral knowledge of the East (all the bodily practices linked to the disciplines of Indian yoga, Tibetan Buddhism and Japanese Zen), all of which gave birth to sophrology which can be defined as the study of consciousness in harmony.

What are the influences and aspirations of sophrology?
What are the inspirations for Sophrology?

What are the inspirations of Sophrology?

Indeed, the word “sophrology” finds its linguistic origin in ancient Greek.

  • SOS (harmony)
  • PHREN (consciousness, mind)
  • LOGOS (science / study)

Sophrology was first practiced successfully at the Olympic Games in Grenoble in 1968 with Swiss skiers to improve their concentration and performance. Since then, sophrology has been used in many fields and disciplines.

An alliance between body and mind

To allow this alliance between our body and our mind / mental state, sophrology offers two categories of practices through breathing exercises, body movements, visualizations :

  • Dynamic relaxation with very simple physical exercises that allow us to feel our body, strengthen the perception of our body image, free ourselves from muscular and mental tensions and be more attentive to the messages that our body sends us by observing our sensations.
  • Specific techniques that use static exercises to work on our mind / mental state in modified consciousness, including visualization exercises. These are techniques that allow you to let go.

When stress is all-pervading and overwhelming, we cut ourselves off from our body and our sensations little by little. We are almost in mental apnea, in a manner of speaking.

In the course of everyday life, when we are in action, brain waves are called “beta” and respond to rapid flows. On the other hand, as soon as we rest, when we slow down, the brain waves pass on a frequency called “alpha”. The latter enable the body to relax and therefore favour better mindfulness of what happens within us.

The aims of sophrology

The applications and benefits from sophrology are numerous.

  • It allows physical and mental recovery.
  • It enables to overcome emotional tension, anxiety and stress.
  • It restores and strengthens self-confidence and optimism.

The principles and laws of sophrology

Sophrology is based on fundamental principles defined by its founder, Professor Alfonso Caycedo, which are all an adequate response to the problem of stress and burnout and of course ultimately teach the individual how to avoid stress or get out of it.

  • The principle of the body image as a lived reality
  • The principle of positive action
  • The principle of objective reality
  • The law of repetition

The principle of integration of the body image

That is to say integrating the representation we have of our body. In people suffering from burnout this is a fundamental issue. Easing the mind, letting go and turning to bodily sensations, reclaiming the body which has been forgotten, with its shape and sensations, making it no longer a host, with a mere support function, but something which is part and parcel of us.

The principle of positive action

Any positive action on the body or on the mind has a positive impact on the consciousness. In sophrology, we do not avoid the negative, but we prefer to work on and strengthen the positive. Seeing the glass as half full, rather than empty.

Indeed, this relentless repetition of the positive generates new thoughts, habits and behaviors that will then strengthen harmony and balance in our daily lives. By turning our gaze to the positive, everything that is negative in the individual such as stress, anxiety and fatigue take up less space.

The principle of objective reality

This principle applies both to the person who comes for a consultation and to the sophrologist himself.

For the person who comes to consult for a problem of stress or burn-out, it is necessary to take into account his personal and professional environment, his constraints to determine which elements can be changed and which cannot be changed and thus offer effective support.

The law of repetition

It is by repeating the exercises that the person will be able to evolve, which will bring about changes in his life. In sophrology, most of the exercises have to be repeated three times.

The stages of sophrology against stress and burn-out
Steps out of burn-out.

How does sophrology help prevent burnout?

Although based on a very gentle approach, relaxation therapy is nonetheless a formidable tool for combating stress.

Through its various exercises, it allows you to take a step back, to learn to let go, to take a more positive view of things, in short to live better, happier, more in harmony. And it is by making you adopt these relaxation reflexes, both physical and mental, that sophrology manages to reduce stress and prevent burnout.

Once you are more relaxed, the flow of uncontrollable thoughts also subsides. Scientific studies give the following figures:

  • An average person has 60,000 thoughts per day
  • 95% of these thoughts are exactly the same as the ones you had the day before
  • 80% of these thoughts are negative

Sophrology works to reduce these numbers to create positive thoughts that will have a domino effect on our whole being. The positive brings the positive; the negative leads to the negative ..

One main point remains to clarify: Sophrology transforms us, makes us more clear-sighted and insightful about our life, our decisions. It teaches us to be in acceptance and not denial or struggle. This acceptance is often difficult to achieve for people under stress or who are facing an illness. But this acceptance can take place smoothly, at a leisurely pace. By creating a healthy base, everyone will be able to develop their capacity for reconstruction in order to recreate a balance in their life.

It is up to you to feel better, the decision must be yours …

The sophrologist will obviously never do the work for you. He will be there to support you but the approach, the desire to change things must come from you.

You can assess your burnout by taking the tests. They will only take you a few minutes!

Véronique About


An entrepreneur and sophrologist, I graduated from CEAS in Paris and from the Sophrology Academy in Ashford, which is a member of FEPS (the Federation of Sophrology Centers), I specialized in issues of stress and burn-out. Do not hesitate to contact me, for any questions or request for support in sophrology.