It all started with the following question during a Skype session:
“how can I take care of my body whenever I’m going through a difficult time“?
This question was the inspiration behind the following interview. There couldn’t be a more suitable person to talk about it than Manouela Sofianopoulou, who is a dear friend of mine but also she is an osteopath, a physiotherapist and a Pilates instructor!
Point no. 1:
Our body is our best friend!
Our body is made of many different levels, and we should always bear in mind that our body is the same with the rest of us! Whenever we are faced with a physical symptom such as pain, fatigue, etc, we should remember that they are a part of us. So ultimately by focusing too much on any circumstance that is depleting our energy, (whether it has to do with our emotions, our thoughts, etc) it ultimately affects the physical well being. If we don’t appreciate this connection, our body will ultimately collapse.
Point no. 2:
Our body will try to protect us by presenting various symptoms before it is too late!
We need to be careful to our body’s signals and act accordingly on time. If not, the body will present different symptoms depending on each person’s needs, and it will be very difficult to pretend not to listen to them.
Point no. 3:
We need to be aware of other contributing factors (such as work related anxiety, interpersonal and family problems) that might have coincided with the presentation of the various physical symptoms.
Point no. 4:
We need to take care of our body!
We are responsible for taking care of our body and we need to be aware of our individual needs depending on the presenting circumstances. In order to ensure that we adequately take care of our body, we always need to pay attention to its main functions, such as breathing, sleeping, metabolising and motion.
Point no. 5:
We are constantly focusing on the presenting problem!
Whenever we are focusing on the actual problem, we need up losing control. We always need to remember to change our focus, to maintain a balance among the various different levels (emotional, physical, metal, etc). In particular it is very important to remember that whenever we are creating positive physical circumstances, they can ultimately affect our emotional, mental and psychological well being.
Point no. 6:
We are responsible for taking care of our body!
It is our duty to pay undivided attention to our body’s needs. If we are in need of help, it is best to find a therapist who will be able to make us appreciate the importance of having balance on all areas of our life, not just the physical one.
Bearing these points in mind, you will be gradually able to understand and deal with your body’s needs very effectively next time you find yourself facing a difficult time.
And remember: We all share the same challenges. As long as we share and learn from each other, the better the quality of our lives is going to be.
Hello, I’m Eva Lychrou and I’m a greek psychotherapist and coach in London. And today I have a question for you.
Have you found out a way to take care of your body whenever you are going through a difficult time in your relationship, in your career or in life in general?
Do you feel physically tired, drained and weak whenever you are going through a difficult time? Even if you feel that you are in control, I’m confident that you will also benefit tremendously from today’s discussion. So let me introduce to you my guest for today, who is Manouela Sofianopoulou. She is first of all a friend but also she is an osteopath, a physiotherapist and a Pilates instructor. You can work with her through skype, and you can find more information about her through her website www.biodynamichealth.net
M: delighted to be here!
E: I would like to thank you for taking the time.
M: thank you for having me!
E: we are waiting impatiently to learn some information!
M: regarding our body!
E: yes, regarding our body!
M: first and foremost, our body is our best friend! There is a misconception that our body is the enemy, or that it is getting in our way; that it is not being helpful; whenever we are faced with a physical symptom, we don’t know what to do about it. So the most important point that we need to appreciate and adopt is the fact that myself and my body, we are not separate. We are together as one. Just like we are connected to our mind and to our emotions, equally we are connected to our bodies. Our body consists of another aspect of who we are. So in effect, anything that physically shows up, such as aches, fatigue, symptoms; it is a part of who we are; of what we are experiencing each day, or what we are experiencing during a difficult circumstance. Similarly, we get to experience our joyful moments through our body; it is not just on a mental and emotional level that we get to experience our happiness, but also through our body. We need to remember that each symptom is a physical situation that we get to experience. So, whenever we are going through a difficult emotional situation, whenever we are feeling exhausted, tired, drained from energy; if we continuously focus on the circumstances that are depriving our energy, then gradually our body will eventually collapse. Wherever there might have been an old sensitivity due to a previous painful experience, or due to an accident; this is where we might be more prone to experience aches…
E: due to a specific sensitivity…
M: exactly! This is where there is a greater likelihood. Whenever I feel exhausted, either physically, emotionally or mentally, it is more likely to show up on a physical level, especially through the manifestation of the autoimmune and the neurological systems. These two systems are responsible for creating specific biochemical substances and hormones, that are ultimately responsible for triggering these problems. So whenever we are focusing on the presenting problems, the body becomes more and more tired, which will eventually lead to collapse…
E: it will collapse…
M: yes it will collapse, it will present problems; most likely the body will present specific symptoms as a way to inform us adequately before its collapse. We will experience that something is not right, way before we reach the stage of collapse. We might experience mild symptoms, such as fatigue; but a very common tendency among most people is to ignore these symptoms… I see you are nodding your head…
E: I agree with you a 100%.
M: so ultimately by not listening to our body, we eventually become exhausted. In my practice it is very common to see patients who have reached that stage…
E: people that have surpassed the limit…
M: yes people that have surpassed their limit; they have reached a stage where they can no longer tolerate the pain, they can no longer ignore what they are experiencing, and that is why they decide to come and see me… Most likely, when I get to take a detailed account of what has happened in their life, it is easy to notice the build up, how come they have reached that stage…. Usually it coincides with another presenting problem which ultimately affects our physical well being. For example there might have been an overlap with an increased amount of work related stress; a stressful circumstance; a difficulty on an interpersonal level or on a family level… Usually there is a significant issue presented also on a different level.
So the question is what can we do about it?
So since these two levels go together, how can we eventually help ourselves? The most important thing that we need to remember is to take care of ourselves. As we are more prone to look after our loved ones, similarly we need to remember to take care of ourselves…
E: this is so true! Because it is easier to take care of others, rather than ourselves…
M: absolutely! But it is invaluable whenever we take care of ourselves! It is unquantifiable! Whenever we are focusing on taking care 100% of ourselves, there can be multiple benefits! The way we take care of ourselves, it is rather subjective! It depends on each person’s needs at that particular moment in time. But let me share with you some basic principles which are related with the body’s main functions, such as breathing, sleeping, metabolising, feeling joyful, having motion; these are the most important functions. So if we are going through a stage in our life where we are not sleeping well, we should focus on improving the quality of our sleep, or how we could get some proper rest. If we are going through a stage where we are not eating properly, we might be eating quickly or having too often comfort food; food that is depleted of nutritional value, we should then change our nutrition. So ultimately we are aiming at changing our chemical substance. If we are faced with gastrointestinal symptoms, we should then focus on that level. If we are experiencing extreme amount of stress and we cannot bypass our thoughts, we should then try to engage in physical activities, or try to exercise outdoors for a change. Outdoors activities will enable us to get some fresh air, a change of scenery and will ultimately physically distract us.
E: when you say distract us, you are referring to focusing on something else…
M: That is exactly what I wanted to talk about next…the focus.
Whenever we are focusing on a specific issue, and I’m not only referring to interpersonal presenting problems, or to career problems, but I’m also referring to physical pain; it is very common to focus mainly on the problem. And what happens is that we lose control and we eventually lose ourselves. What usually happens is that we put ourselves in the middle of the problem and eventually we get lost. What we need to bear in mind, it is actually very effective and simple to do is to change our focus, to focus on something else. Not as distraction…
E: not trying to distract ourselves…
M: exactly! But rather as a way of distancing ourselves. So whenever for example we are faced with a relationship problem, it is very effective to do something beneficial for ourselves, completely on our own, as it allows us to breathe again. By doing so, we might be able to find a solution… whenever we might be facing an intense physical pain and we are constantly focusing on it, it will never heal. The body will never be able to heal itself. So if we try to do something else, such as take care of ourselves, or focus on something else…
E: to become involved with something else…
M: exactly! Not focusing so much on the presenting problem, it eventually creates enough space for the problem to be dealt more effectively.
E: but I guess you are referring on all different levels, as you have already explained…
M: that is correct! On all levels! What I get to find always so amazing is the fact that life itself will deal with the presenting problems one way or the other. Life is a vicious circle! Difficulties come and go. Happiness comes and goes. That’s life! Just like seasons come and go, so do problems come and go. But whenever we cling onto things and we get so caught up in them, and we are not focusing on maintaining a balance, but instead we become obsessed with circumstances, then we eventually do not allow life to take its course. So what we need to be constantly reminded of is to take care of ourselves, on all different levels; for example we should nurture our emotional, physical and mental levels. There needs to be a balance on all different levels, so that we don’t feel suffocated. And especially whenever we are creating positive physical experiences, they can ultimately affect our psychological well being and eventually speed up the process of healing.
E: amazing! I think it is very easy to see the connection; if we don’t get caught up in believing that there is no connection between the different levels, but rather appreciate and it all becomes one; and by changing our focus, by focusing on more pleasant circumstances, we can ultimately affect our physical well being. Besides that was the reason of today’s discussion.
M: that’s right! So we eventually come to see ourselves and our life as a whole. We no longer need to cut ourselves into pieces, and believe that each piece is separate from the whole of its parts. Each level is a very significant part of life and this is where the biodynamic way of interpreting things comes into play. The biodynamic lifestyle, or the biodymanic health has to do with how each level affects one another. So we cannot separate one from the other, but we’d rather put all of them together and support them. One affects the other.
E: excellent! Thank you so so much! I’m grateful first of all to have you as a friend…
M: me too!
E: and for being able to have this discussion. I’m confident that it will benefit tremendously many people out there! I think that the connection was very straightforward! We are responsible for it; no one else can do it on our behalf.
M: since you mentioned this point… what people can do is to choose a therapist who will enable them to appreciate all these different elements; to appreciate at what level they got lost; where did they lose control; to appreciate where they might be in need of some help; to enable them to change their focus and ultimately become more balanced. For example, in my practice, I like to work with my clients and see them as a whole; I try to appreciate the physical problem, their routines, at what level they might be feeling exhausted; at what level they might be functioning; therefore the aim is to support all different levels…
E: it is very clear!
M: in a pleasant, helpful and balanced way!
E: you are a very charismatic person!
M: thank you for your comment!
E: I would like to thank you for sharing with us today your tips, your knowledge, your wisdom, with very simple terms.
Now Manouela and I would love to hear from you.
What has been the most beneficial point from today’s discussion and in what ways are you planning to apply it in your
We can’t wait to read your comments! In the meantime, feel free to contact Manouela Sofianopoulou directly through her website; that is www.biodynamichealth.net
Don’t forget to sign up to receive updates, emails and other interesting interviews from me at evalychrou.com.
And remember: we all share the same challenges. As long as we share and learn from each other, the better the quality of our lives is going to be. See you next time!