Krati: Thank you so much, Sophie, for being here, and I would love to know a little bit about your story, like how you started doing this work that you’re doing and helping all the people that you’re helping,
Sophie: Oh, thank you so much for having me. My story starts when I was 15 and began not to sleep. So, I had insomnia. It came very suddenly. And I didn’t do anything about it. I was a kid. I just carried on with life, I suppose, and slowly, I think what then happened is I developed anxiety.
I went to university and ended up on sleeping pills because it was the only way to sleep. And then something hit me: I don’t want to be on sleeping pills. This is not a good place to be. And so then, amid this, I started a career in TV. So that was like my first job out of uni, and it was super high pressured; I was working 90-hour weeks, and part of me loved it, like, part of me thrived off it.
It’s an incredible industry to work in, but then there was just no balance, and there was no time for me, and In the midst of all of this, my insomnia was kind of getting worse. My anxiety was getting worse, all bubbling underneath the surface. On the outside, to everyone else, I looked like I was rocking it.
I had this great career. I was doing really well. I was climbing up the ladder. I was confident, but the drive was all for the wrong reasons in the sense that it was coming from a lower place of worth. I felt like I needed to prove myself, needed to show everyone that I got my shit together, you know?
I felt like I needed to really present myself to the world. All came from this lack of self worth which at the time I didn’t realise. Cut to my late twenties, I ended up being signed off work and that was really like this big stepping stone into realising that I was really not very well and that I needed to sort out not only mental health with the anxiety and insomnia, but it caused a load of physical symptoms as well.
It just really kickstarted me on this journey of self growth and really understanding like, and I know you’ve talked about this – what does success mean? Does it really mean working 90 hour-weeks and burning myself out and working so hard that I don’t have a life?
I started to ask all these questions and then that was my journey into yoga. So yoga became a healing tool for me and it was just another kickstart into becoming more aware of what was going on in my life on a conscious level rather than kind of running on autopilot that I had done for so many years
Krati: Can we go deeper into yoga as a tool of healing for you? Because anytime people talk about coaches or anybody in fitness even recommends exercise and tells people how important it is to move throughout the day, it’s usually about endorphins. It’s usually about fitness, but I’ve noticed that yoga for you, it goes deeper than that; so it will be great if you can talk about that.
Sophie: Yeah, it’s funny; I think a lot of people will resonate with me in the sense that a lot of people start yoga for the physical practice. It’s a brilliant physical practice not only for mobility, but for strength, for creativity, for focus. It’s a wonderful physical practice.
But what I had no idea was that actually the mental benefits would be so huge, but it took me time. To begin with, it was like, let’s just get fit and healthy and strong, but what it started to do was actually allow me to have an internal practice. Like I never knew about meditation really.
I just thought meditation was for people who were really woo-woo and so, you know, not for me, but I started to see that there was this practice that was about internally reflecting, becoming aware, but being mindful of your body, asking what’s going on.
Now, I can see that if feelings come up in the body, they are a signal to us. They’re a signal to us of what is going on at a deeper level and we have to pay attention to that. I know you’ve talked about this before, it’s like, so often these feelings come up, and we just avoid and ignore and push them under the carpet. And so, I think on quite a subtle level it started with the, you know, the meditation practice. There’s becoming more aware, the philosophy of yoga as well, there’s, you know, the yamas and niyamas – the huge kind of yogic principles and when I first heard them, because they’re in Sanskrit, I was like, Oh no, this isn’t really for me.
Slowly, I’ve realized that actually, it’s all of these principles I’ve managed to kind of mould into my life in a more modern way because obviously a lot of the yogic principles come from a long time ago. Things like non violence, like not being violent, not only to others, but not being violent to yourself. How often are we violent to ourself and the way we speak to ourselves are in a critic are the way we push ourselves so hard. I mean, you know, you talked about your running.
It’s like we push ourselves to these limits and simple teachings like kindness and compassion started to come into my awareness and I’d been so tough on myself for so long. So, it was kind of a stepping stone. The philosophy, literally awareness, like I think the problem with being on autopilot and being in your subconscious, so It’s like 95 to 97 percent of our thoughts, feelings, behaviours are subconscious.
So much about the work that I now do is about bringing the subconscious into the conscious mind and this was like that stepping stone of awareness. Where am I taking responsibility for my life? Where am I blaming other people? Where am I in victimhood mode? So, so much of my life I was in this like victimhood mode space where I was saying things to myself like, Why do bad things happen to me? Why is life so unfair? Why do I have insomnia and someone else doesn’t? Without my realising it, it was just dragging me deeper into a hole. Instead of, okay, well, this doesn’t feel good. Well, what can I do about it? Instead of blaming external events, what can I do internally to change my world?
So yeah, yoga, therapy came at the right time, and it was so interesting because my therapy and the yoga practice was so beautifully entwined.
Like they were saying a lot of the same things and then, that kind of sparked me into a whole world of really diving deep into meditation and then, meditation has just transformed my life.
Krati: I have to say and I have no evidence to prove this, but I think people, even people we deem as horrible in society, even people like that, I think everyone is capable of being very, very savage to themselves, more savage than they are to other people.
There’s a lot of internal cruelty going on. So what you’ve actually shared, it’s very thought provoking. Everybody should think about, especially the things that you were reflecting on as you were going through that journey.
I think, that would alter things massively. At least they did for me. So I love that you shared all of that. Thank you so much for going so deep into it and I’m gonna ask you a weird question because I would like to know what that looked like for you as you were going into this world of yoga.
A lot of people think of yoga and they think of all of those impossible poses, right? Then they’re thinking, ‘if I am trying to nail this pose, there is no way i’m also in touch with my breathing and my thoughts and all of that.’
So for people like that who are very intimidated by the very idea of doing yoga, what does that look like on a very practical basis for a beginner?
Sophie: Yeah, I think it’s a really good point. You have to find a class that suits you and a teacher that suits you and I’m not everyone’s cup of tea in terms of My yoga teaching. I know that and that’s totally fine. We have to find people we resonate with the way they teach. We have to find someone we can resonate with and if you’re a beginner, you want to go to a beginner’s class, not some kind of crazy handstand class because it’s just going to put you off.
It’s really funny because for me, like the practice has changed so much. I used to go to the teachers where it was like a really hardcore, like vinyasa or ashtanga practice where, you know, I’d be sweating tons, maybe in a heated room, you know, and it was all, it really was like about feeling strong in a very physical sense and now my practice has changed so much that often my practice is at home on my mat and it might be just kind of almost rolling around on my mat for 10 minutes and then my meditation, it doesn’t have to look like anything, you know, too Instagrammable.
It is this internal practice and actually meditation is the basis of it. But we think the physical postures now, in modern day, are, you know, is what yoga is. But actually it all comes from a meditation, a seated meditation practice. That is my formal practice every single day. I do not miss my meditation, every single day. I don’t practice yoga every single day.
So yeah, my advice would be don’t give up at the first hurdle. If there’s a teacher you don’t resonate with, try someone else. There are so many different types of yoga, as well. You know, there’s slower types of yoga.
There’s yin yoga, which is based on longer held postures and it’s about stretching the fascia, you know, so there’s just, there’s so much out there that you will find someone you resonate with. It just might take a little bit of. experimenting and then in terms of meditation, I mean, for me, what really, really helped was instead of doing the apps cause I was like dabbling with the apps, you know, headspace and calm, which I think are brilliant, but it wasn’t giving me this, this daily practice that was kind of just me on my own.
I knew I wanted that. I didn’t want to be like listening to something.
So I stumbled across the London Meditation Centre and they have totally changed my meditation practice. So, I’ve been meditating that style of meditation for four years now, over four and a half years, and it’s called Vedic Meditation.
It’s two lots of 20 minutes – 20 minutes in the morning, 20 minutes in the afternoon and that has, I would say, has had the biggest impact on my mental health and the way I see things. Like I think, I almost think of it as like, I used to see with like tunnel vision, like one way, one route, and how can I make sure that that happens?
Then what meditation did was it like opened up the tunnel. So I now have this like 180 degree view and I’m just not so fixated on one way being the way and by doing that, it opens me up to so much more expansion and so much more consciousness and so many more possibilities.
Krati: I love that. But care to share a little bit more about, you said Vedic meditation, right? That’s what you practice?
Sophie: Yeah, so, my teachers are, they run the London Meditation Center. They also have a New York Meditation Center. Jillian and Michael, they’re aware of the fact that meditation comes with this kind of tagline of like, they always say, brown rice and sandals.
So, the idea is to bring meditation into a modern day, busy person’s life? I’m nowhere near as busy as I used to be. I’ve massively calmed my life down but when I first went to them, I was incredibly busy and I still managed to do the two meditations a day.
I was so inspired by them and also, as I said, they make it really practical. So if you can’t meditate first thing in the morning, because you’ve got kids jumping around you, then do you have 20 minutes on a train? Can you, if you’ve got 15 minutes on a tube journey into London, can you take a longer tube journey so that you get 20 minutes on that tube?
So the idea is that we can do it anywhere and everywhere and also, the practice of it is that they give you a mantra which is effectively a sound, that you repeat in your head. The way they speak about it andI’m conscious of speaking about it for them, but they, the way they speak about it is, that the mantra becomes charming and you get very drawn in by the mantra. I look forward to my meditations.
I’m excited to meditate. So yeah, I mean, anyone who’s interested, they do like these free classes. You do have to go in person to learn from them. My mum just did it. I managed to inspire my mum to do it which is like, so wonderful, because I didn’t actually say to her, you should go and do this.
She just saw huge changes in my life and how I reacted to things, and how much more open I was, how much more calm, relaxed, less attached to things, you know, and she she saw that and she was like I want a piece of this. So my mom in her 60s has gone to learn to meditate. So anyone can do it
Krati: Awesome. Awesome. Are you allowed to share the mantra?
Sophie: No, it’s a private mantra and each person gets a different mantra according to where they’re at in life. So yeah, no, I can’t. To be honest, I don’t even feel like I can do them justice, you know, because they’ve been doing this for years, they’re hugely inspirational teachers of mine what I would say is if you’re interested, go and do their free talk, it’s online and I can give you the links. It’s been such a game changer for me.
Krati: We’ll share the link. So, it’s a Sanskrit mantra? Is it a mantra in your own language?
Krati: Love it! For me, I’ve always thought of spirituality as like this very, very powerful weapon. That’s how it has always been for me, but I’ve grown up doing meditation, doing mantra chanting.
It’s always been a part of my life but yeah, for someone who starts doing it at maybe 32, 42, you’ve got so much emotional baggage, you’ve got so much anxiety in your life by that point. You’ve got so many responsibilities like you did, right? So I have to ask you, because I’ve read about these experiences that people have when they go into these intense meditations, especially if you’ve got a lot of anxiety, the meditation, instead of helping you, it focuses what you are anxious about and that sort of triggers them and makes the whole thing way worse, and then they have to be brought down to a better place, to a healthier place. Did you ever encounter that emotion while you were meditating? Did you ever notice that with happening with someone else?
Sophie: No, that didn’t happen for me at all. It massively helped my sleep which in turn massively helped my anxiety. So, no, it wasn’t like I sat and meditated and then focused on my anxiety and made it worse, and I haven’t actually worked with anyone because I don’t teach Vedic meditation. You have to go and train in that, but I do teach basic meditation.
I’ve not had a student, a client have that experience but yes, I have heard that some people with breathing techniques, and with meditation, it can cause their symptoms worsen. If that is you, then I would go and seek help from, you know, a professional, a therapist, someone who can help you more on that journey.
Krati: That makes sense. Thank you for adding that. I think mantra chanting is fairly safe because your focus stays in the vibration of it and the feel of it in your body. I think that what you’re suggesting makes a lot of sense. I think it will be helpful to a lot of people.
What is sad is and I noticed this with most of the the guests who come on to the show is that everyone had to go through like this horrible journey before they were like, okay, let me figure out what’s going on with me. Let me go on to a healthier path, and that is that is sad but that’s just how it plays out.
At least, I’ve never met anyone who was just woke up one day and was like let me be healthier. It always happens because something’s not right in your life but I would like for my audience to not have to go through all of those struggles. So, are there any rituals, any practices, any exercises that you can recommend that would help people stay in touch with their inner self so that before things get really really bad they can notice when something isn’t functioning quite as it should?
Sophie: I think it’s really interesting that before I go into the exercises part, I think it’s such an important point because the truth is that most people have to reach some kind of rock bottom to really do something about their mental health. I think people don’t really, especially if you’re someone like me where my anxiety like, simmered.
Do you know the analogy of the frog? If a frog jumped into boiling water it would jump out, but the frog that is slowly boiled from cold water into boiling water doesn’t jump out because it’s a slow process. For me, that was like my anxiety. It wasn’t like suddenly I was having insane panic attacks.
It just slowly crept up over years and years and I actually thought it was who I was. I didn’t realise that I’d kind of piled on these layers of pain and struggle and mental imprisonment, you know? And so, so much of this work is actually about un-peeling that and getting back to your truth, your essence, your own, sense of who you are and your wisdom and a high sense of worth.
There’s a quote that one of my teachers always says, don’t save someone from their rock bottom because we’re always wanting to save other people, right?
I think that’s so powerful because it’s like people would have to quite often hit these rock bottoms in order to do something about it.
Having said that, if you are in a place where you know something isn’t right and you’re determined to do something about it, I mean there are so many practices that I think are hugely beneficial. The first thing is, have a daily internal practice, and I think, people quite often see this as like a tick box exercise, especially nowadays where everything is about wellness.
Oh, if I just tick box my like my quick meditation, my gratitude practice, and I say a few affirmations, I’ve done my wellness.For me, it’s so much more embodied than that. So my practice consists of my 20 minute morning meditation. My gratitude practice is thinking about three things from the day before that I’m grateful for and I visualize them.
So, a visualization practice is so powerful because we, our bodies and our minds do not know the difference between what’s actually real and what’s imaginary, hence why we get anxious, right?
Because we’re thinking about something happening in the future, and we get scared, and then the fear response in our bodies, our heartbeat rises, we get sweaty palms, maybe we have a panic attack.
But that thing isn’t actually happening now, we’re visualising it. So instead of visualising the bad, we start to visualise our gratitude practice. So, tomorrow, I’m sure I’ll be grateful for this podcast and I’ll visualize sitting here, being here, how did I feel? And then allowing those feelings to come up in the body, so we’re training our body to have these feelings of gratitude, of joy, of connection, of laughter, of calm, whatever it is that goes along with the gratitude and you really ignite these feelings in your body. Because, the way that we’re wired is to be wired towards our threat response, our survival mechanism. And so it’s so much easier for us to see the threat, to see the negative, to see ourselves as the victim, and actually we have to work really hard for our brain to not go down that path, but to go towards the more expansive place, which is, I’ve got this. Things are good. I have things to be grateful for. I have a lesson to learn here. Even though something was difficult, how can I pivot? So that’s the like more helpful route. And actually doing this gratitude practice will wire our bodies and our brains to go towards that in time of distress. So, it’s a beautiful practice to have before something difficult happens.
After my gratitude practice I move into intentions. So my intention will be very specific to the day. So my intention today was to show up really present to this podcast. And then after that, rest. Because I know that my body is just a little bit burnt out at the moment. Or run down, I shouldn’t say burnt out, run down.
So that was my intention for the day, so it’s very specific. And then my affirmations are, I mean I have such a range of affirmations, but I am enough has been one that has massively helped me because a deep down limiting belief that I discovered was I’m not enough. So I remind myself every day I’m enough. I often say I’m ready to receive, I’m ready to receive love, I’m ready to receive abundant, abundance, joy, know, whatever I’m ready to receive because quite often, and this is, going to speak, I think, true to a lot of women who are in their masculine mode. We’re givers. We give, give, give, give, give to other people.
So so much of me softening into my feminine mode is about receiving. So, I have my palms up and I’m like, I receive love. I receive abundance, whatever it is. So heaps of different affirmations you can do. One of my tips is if you’re in a difficult place, don’t go to saying, I’m amazing, I am great. That’s just, you’re lying to yourself.
So it’s saying things like, I have all the energy I need. So if I’m knackered, that’s what I’ll say to myself. I have all the energy I need. Or, what is meant for me will not miss me. So it’s, making the affirmation suitable for where you are at in your mind on that day. So that’s kind of my daily practice.
I mean I have so many, so many different tools in terms of self worth and noticing the inner critic. So, one of my things is to click. I’m like, if my inner critic starts to bring up fear, I’ll click, and I’ll speak to myself, I speak to my ego. And I say things like, No Sophie, we are not going there.
So I stop that inner dialogue from spiralling, because so often, We think of one slightly negative thing and before we know it, we’ve gone down this route for like an hour and we’ve ruminated so much that we now think that our life is over. You know, we’re like so dramatic so if you can start to stop and I call it like short circuiting your brain, stop that thought that isn’t helpful.
So it’s like asking yourself the question. Is this helpful or is this harmful if it’s harmful? stop it and then, reroute it. So, no, we’re not going there. And then you come to a more empowering belief. So you, it’s about like talking to your limiting beliefs and then, and then listening to your empowering beliefs.
Krati: I really love it. You know, one of the reasons why I asked you on the show was because I loved your energy in whatever few videos that I saw of yours. I mean, I read a lot of your content, but I saw like a few videos and I was so, I loved your energy so much. Like some people just have such a calm, focused energy that it comes across even on your cell phone even through video and I love that but let me ask you this, because you’ve been on that journey where you were in this place of high anxiety, high stress, very strung out. Now, all those things that you’re doing, how has that altered your energy? Your interpersonal dynamics with people, how has that altered because you know some people they carry a lot of stress inside but outwardly they’re the same.
Was that the case for you or doing all of this work has completely shifted even how you externally project your energy?
Sophie: I would say yes and no. I think there’s, kind of what I was saying about, like, unpeeling the layers to actually getting back to my true self which I know can sound really cheesy, but it’s like, so, so I think a lot of it was, was there, and it did show up in moments and I would say people see a lot of the same kind of characteristics.
Like, I’ve actually always been very energetic, like, I’ve always been someone who, like, Wants to go for things and is sociable and loves being around people and thrives off feeling alive, but there was just this part of me that was heavy and so I would say, that heaviness is massively lifted I’m no longer so stuck in my head. So, for example, one of the parts to my anxiety was I got really socially anxious and it was a huge moment where I was like, this is not me because I love being around people.
But even my best friends, I got so scared to see them because what would happen was they would be talking to me and in my head I’d be talking to myself so horribly that I’d be saying things like, You, you’ve got nothing to say. They’re not, they’re not going to want to be your friend anymore. I don’t know why you’re here.
You should just go home because you’re going to make a fool out of yourself. And they’re really interesting and you’re not. And in that process, what would happen because they’re talking to me and I’m not listening to what they’re saying. I’m so in my head. Then I, I don’t have anything to say back because I’m lost in the conversation.
So it kind of made it even worse and so I started to skip social events, and I would have, you know, that feeling the day after being like, if I did go to a social event, even if I didn’t drink, I’d have that like hangover anxiety, I’d be like, oh. People are just going to think I’m such an idiot, and I’m so embarrassed, I had all this kind of, I suppose, shame.
And that has totally gone. Like, no, maybe 99 percent gone, I can’t say it’s like completely gone. But, it’s really gone in the sense that like, I would say one of my strengths is listening. I can really listen to someone now without interrupting, without thinking, what am I going to say next? Without it, I’m really present and absorbed in them and I couldn’t do that before.
Energetically, there’s a big shift in a relationship when that happens. Like I’ve had quite a few people say to me, hey, you’re really good at listening and it’s something that I trained, it was like part of my therapy was like training, listening to someone rather than being stuck in my head and I think also when you build your self worth, it’s a skill that is massively developed because you’re not thinking about, oh, what do I need to say next in order to be interesting in the conversation? You’re just present to them and it’s not about what you can offer. It’s really about just listening.
So that has definitely been an energetic shift. Just like a final kind of shift, which I don’t know if, well, I think people do notice on the outside. My mom definitely has, but I’m less like grippy onto stuff. I was kind of talking about that earlier, like I’m not, I don’t have this sense of controlling my life like I used to.
So just a slight segue, part, part of my journey has been getting married, was with someone for 10 years, was trying for babies. Buying a house all of that and I went through a sudden separation and my life totally changed I moved to Bali for three and a half years. I My life looks just so different to what I thought it was gonna be And because of that again because of that kind of rock bottom, I’ve stopped trying to control things So people say to me, oh, you’re gonna go back to Bali.
Where are you living now? What are you gonna do? And I’m like I don’t know, I’m open to anything. I don’t have this fixated, like, it has to be this way, because if it’s this way then I’m worthy. I feel worthy wherever I’m going. I know because it’s about, and this is kind of to my point of the energy part, it’s not about the outcome so much for me.
It’s about how I am showing up every day? How am I showing up in terms of my reaction to things? Like something happened, two things happened this morning, one with work, one personally, that I could have got riled up about. And I just don’t. It just doesn’t affect me on that level. Because I’ve kind of made these intentions to show up in different ways.
To show up in a way that is just more open and relaxed and enjoying the journey rather than, okay, well, if I meet someone or if I have a baby or if I get the house, then I’m going to be happy. So that is my goal. It’s about energy over outcome.
Krati: Another question on the same subject that I have is about physiology like I don’t know the answer to this question.
I would say, from my own experience, if you don’t feel good in your body, you’re not gonna feel good in your mind for me. That’s just Not possible, but that’s just my experience. It’s one person’s experience. So from you, I would want to know what you’ve noticed for yourself and for your clients. Is it possible to not have a healthy body and still enjoy good mental health good emotional well being?
Sophie: It probably depends on what level of unhealthy you’re and are you dipping in and out, you know, is it just like, you know, you don’t do exercise for a couple of weeks because you’re on holiday. That to me is just balance. I can speak from my personal experience and I think this experience also is very much the women I work with, I know they’ve had similar experiences to me as well with this, but a lot of the insomnia and the anxiety then, it was manifesting in physical symptoms, I had really bad IBS, I had night sweats that were really terrible to the point of like, being dripping in sweat at night, you know, waking up four times a night, changing my pyjamas four times a night, and I also lost my period, and when I really tackled what was going on at a deeper level for my mental health, all of this got better. I haven’t had a night sweat in years and years. I’ve got my period back, woohoo. And IBS, I experience some symptoms every now and then but it’s not crippling me.
So yeah, I mean my experience has been, it’s so intertwined and I listen to my body so much more now. Like even so I, because you don’t know how I normally speak, but I can hear in my voice, I’m run down. And so today instead of feeling guilty, apart from this podcast, I’ve canceled everything.
The old me would not have been able to do that. I would have been wracked with guilt. I would have felt so bad. I would have felt like I was letting everyone down. But it’s like this, I have this sense that just of honouring myself now and where I’m at. And I’m, you know, I’m not that ill, I’m just run down.
But I know that I need a day to rest. And I know that’s what my body needs. And maybe someone else wouldn’t need that. But I honour what I need physically and also I look at what’s coming in mentally, right.
Because the first thing that happened to me this morning straight away, because I had an 8am appointment when I canceled it, I was like, Oh, what are they going to think about you?
And then straight away, I did the click. I’m like, that’s not where we’re going. You’re being kind and you’re honouring yourself and where you’re at. And I do think we need more of that in our lives. And I get it, like I work for myself. I know I’m in that position that I can decide to do that. But just, Yeah, I think that, really starting to look at what is going on in your body and then seeing what that’s trying to teach you in terms of what’s going on in your mind. And it’s the same, you talked about triggers earlier. When we get triggered, we have a response, right? The body has a physical response. We feel sick. We feel afraid. Our heartbeat rises. We want to run, you know.
These very physical, primal responses, you know. It’s like the fight and flight mode. Why is that triggering you? What is going on? Why do you feel unsafe? That’s the questions that, you know, therapists, people, coaches, people you work with can really help you get to the underlying issue. And again, to me, it makes sense that it’s just so intertwined and we have to pay attention to that.
I think a huge amount of disconnection between, ourselves, our inner world, is this kind of sweeper under the carpet, doesn’t matter that I feel a bit ill, doesn’t matter that you know, we’re like a medicated society now, like everyone is just taking pills for stuff, well if we weren’t just sticking a plaster on it, what actually is going on at a deeper level?
You know like, just to give, this was like such a wake up call for me, I was so angry at the time. When I lost my period, my gynecologist said to me, Don’t worry, it will come back. Don’t worry, it will come back. And I was like, but I want to try for kids in like six months. Don’t worry, it will come back. It’s fine.
Six months later, still don’t have my period. Oh well, it’s fine. You can just do IVF and I was blown away. I was like, what do you mean I can just do IVF? I was like, there is something physically not right with my body. I am a woman. I should be bleeding every single month. I haven’t for a very long time.
Surely you have better knowledge or a better plan than we’re gonna now medicate you and do something, you know, that’s huge. In order to have a baby, and there was not one question about stress, about my background, about what I’ve been going through, about my lifestyle, nothing. And in order to get that, I had to go to the alternative medicine.
I went to an acupuncturist who was amazing. She helped me get my period back, but the whole thing was about me reconnecting with my body. It wasn’t about me putting pills or, you know, going down that route. It was about me really reconnecting with my body with she taught me so much visualizations mantra, prayer, all of it.
Like, and then I had the, the, the acupuncture, weekly at one point as well, which massively helped, but she was the first person to say to me, oh yeah, by the way, you don’t have a period because your body is so stressed because your body, when it’s in stress, the two of the main systems that get shut down are the digestive system and your fertility because your body sees them as not worthwhile right now because we are just trying to survive. We’re just trying to survive, so let’s shut down those systems. And so she was the first person to actually explain that to me.
Krati: I hope anybody listening to this episode makes note of particularly that story, because, especially where allopathic medicine is concerned, this happens a lot.
You have to be very careful when you visit your doctor, and one way you can do that, you can stand up for yourself, is by actually knowing what’s going on with your body. And the things that you’ve talked about today, they are so massively helpful in doing that. If you know how your body functions, you can stand up to a doctor, even if that doctor is like the best in his field or whatever, you can still push back and say, this is not how it’s supposed to be, give me a better solution.
That’s one of the reasons why people go to homeopathic doctors. I don’t, cause for me, like, I don’t quite understand it, but the one thing that I do like about it is that as soon as you sit down, they, like, do a massive deep dive into your life. They want to know everything that’s going on. It’s exhausting, but you have to talk about, like, from your childhood to present day.
But that makes sense that you would do that if you’re tackling something huge in someone’s life. But yeah, I get angry about this stuff. So thank you so much for sharing all that. It’s, it’s massively helpful.
Sophie: Oh, you’re so welcome. It makes me think of one thing, I’ll just quickly say. It’s a study, and I, we can link it as well. I can’t remember what it’s called, but it’s the longest study of adults of all time. It’s been going on for decades. And it was a study done by Harvard, and it’s still going on, and they studied first it was men, then they studied their wives, then they studied their children, and basically they didn’t have, like, an idea of exactly what they wanted to come out of the study.
They were just studying them physically, you know, with ECGs, brain scans, all of it. They were also talking to them, asking them how they feel, you know, it was a really holistic study. And The thing that’s come out of it is that the biggest marker of your health in your 80s is not what your cholesterol has been or what your blood pressure has been.
It’s actually the quality of your relationships. So people who had great quality relationships, surrounded by love, were the healthiest and that is the thing that came out of this study, that they had no idea that they were…
And I’m just generalising with my experience of some of the doctors that I’ve been to in the past and I actually have been to some like the more western medicalised system, who are great, really great but I have been to some where there’s no relationship between you, and I understand it’s also really difficult.
The system here is like, you get 10 minutes but there’s no actual relationship of being like, how are you? Like it took me it wasn’t until I was 28, so 13 years of going to doctors. And being prescribed sleeping pill, after sleeping pill, after sleeping pill, after sleeping pill. And I mean, I was 20, I think, when I first got prescribed sleeping pills.
Took me 13 years for someone to say, how are you? How are you feeling? What’s your everyday life like? What are you thinking about at the moment? What are your goals? What are your worries? And it was that doctor that then signed me off, and had the biggest impact on where I then went and how I then changed my life completely.
And I think that sometimes with these you know, again in my experience with the, a lot of the doctors that are on the more alternative side, there is that relationship. Especially like, for me, my therapy, there is, you know, there’s that real relationship of empathy, kindness, understanding and I’m not trying to generalize.
I know that people are gonna have different experiences, but that was kind of my experience of it. And I think, relationships and actually asking one another, how are you? Like really, how are you rather than this, I’m fine, or I’m, I’m so busy. That’s what we always, always say,
Krati: Yeah. Yeah. I grew up with a very like socially popular sibling So he’s always had like so many many many many many friends and for like the first 21 years of my life. I had no friends like none whatsoever. Then I started making friends when I went to London to do my master’s. I was so homesick. I absolutely needed friends but up to that point I was like, I don’t need friends.
I’m good. Leave me alone with my books. So I was that typical book nerd. Then I went to London. I needed to make friends and what I’ve realized is I tried to go like try to copy my brother because I was like, okay He’s clearly doing something right? He’s a socially popular sibling Let me just channel him all the time and I ended up with a lot of friends. I was the funny one in the group suddenly from being an introvert to that and then I came back again, I maintained all of that social circle. I continued to make lots and lots of friends, but it was, it just sort of drained my energy all the time. It was just not energetically compatible with who I am. So now I’ve got like three, four constant friends, like people that I’m constantly in touch with, but those are like very deep, very genuine friendships where we understand what’s going on with each other, where we can offer advice without having to know the whole situation because we know each other so well, and we’re there for each other. I think that’s something that people, because the, what you are saying here is so important to understand, to absorb, and to actually act on, but at the same time, a lot of people think relationships, equals, you know, I’ve got 100 friends, I’m clearly doing something right.
Well, that’s not actually true. Unless you’re, because if all of your friendships are very transactional, you have zero friends then. You’ve got zero friends. But if you have like one very, very genuine friend. Someone who would actually show up for you and actually understands you at your like your core.
I think you’re good. You’re good to go
Sophie: I love that
Krati: Okay, so a lot of these emotions that come up with wanting to show up a certain way in the world, constantly feeling triggered and constantly feeling sort of energetically very wired, I think it has a lot to do, this is my opinion, has a lot to do with ego, with how we want to be perceived by others.
So that’s, I think, worth talking about and we’re diving deep into where this need is coming from for other people to see us a certain way. Why not be more about how we want to show up in life?
Sophie: So, from what I understand and that this has just been really helpful for me in my process of understanding this, is that your ego and your survival mechanism are very much linked. Like, your ego is linked to fear and your ego doesn’t like things to change, and doesn’t like uncertainty.
So, we hold on to our identities. Like, our identity is a huge part of our ego. So when we’re kids, we are being looked after by our caregivers and if we don’t act a certain way, we will not be looked after by our caregivers. This is what we perceive, Right. in the sense of this is what our survival mechanism is, is zoning in on. For example, let’s say you are a child who if you misbehave, you are sent to your room and you’re told off what you are gonna learn, and this is on a subconscious level, what you’re gonna learn is I need to be a really good person all the time.
Otherwise, I’m not going to receive love, and I need to receive love in order to literally receive food and shelter and warmth and care. So we start to adapt ourselves at this really young age in order to fit in, in order to survive, in order to receive love. We learn that love is conditional. So who do I need to be to fit in this world in order to gain love? And then we become those people. So, we’re trying to be really successful. Or we’re, you know, trying to live up to our father’s expectations because he wants you to make X amount of money. Or, you know, we feel we have to be a mum really young because that’s what our mum did.
And if we don’t, we’re a failure. And we’re not going to be seen as successful. So, we’re adjusting our lives and our goals and our dreams in order to fit. Someone else, effectively. And it’s not just caregivers, it’s the way we’re brought up, it’s the people that we surround ourselves with, it’s our peers, it’s our schooling.
And it can be later on in life as well. But, this is what I see is, what we have to re-pattern. And we have to start, and this is where I think the rock bottom is useful, because it puts you in a place where you go, Who am I? What do I want? How can I unconditionally love myself rather than rely on external validation and love?
And of course we have to belong. We have, it’s, we need to be part of a tribe, a community that’s very much part of our like survival mechanism as well. But it gets us to actually look at our own values, our own needs, our own wants, who we are, how we wanna show up in the world, what is, what does success mean to us?
That’s the whole process. That’s the whole journey. That’s the whole like unlearning of these modes of behaviour that massively put us in our ego.
Krati: Whenever you’re making big shifts in your life, there is a possibility that you’re going to start alienating the people around you. Because, you know, they’ve become friends with, loved you because you were a certain kind of person and now you’re shifting to something completely different. What do you do in a situation like that when you are, you’re having to grapple with this very real idea that you’re, by the end of this process, you’re going to be left alone?
How do you be okay with that and how do you keep moving forward? How do you not let that stop you?
Sophie: So firstly, being really careful with language, saying something to yourself, like by the end of this process, I’m going to be alone as a very limiting belief. And it’s full of fear, right? So, so much of what I teach in my coaching is about how can we be in that place of love rather than in that place of fear?
Of course, that’s a really natural response. Oh my God, I’m going to be alone. Like that’s deeply entwined with our survival mechanism. It’s a deep trigger. What I would say from my experience is I’ve been really lucky in the sense that I’ve been insanely supported by friends and family. However, in ways that I’ve shown up, I have also caused, I don’t even know what I would say, how to explain it.
Let me give you an example.
Sophie: If you are, if you’re someone who people pleases all the time and you’re always saying yes to and then you suddenly show up and you say, Hey, actually or, you know, how about we do it this way? That person can get really confronted because they’re just so used to you saying yes.
And also, it kind of shines a light on their stuff as well. Because they’re getting triggered like, well, why is this person now not showing up for me in this way? The dynamic shifts, the dynamic changes, the same as if you set a boundary. But what we have to learn and understand in this work is that The win is not in how someone else reacts.
The win is in how you’re showing up. Again, energy over outcome. How you’re showing up. Are you showing up from a place that feels true, that feels like you’re honoring yourself? A place where, because often we people please, and we have no boundaries. And then we feel resentment, and we’re annoyed with that person, when actually it’s not about that person, it’s about how you’re showing up.
There’s a great quote, which is like, you teach people how to treat you by what you tolerate. So, stop tolerating it. Stop putting it on them, and start to work out what it is that you feel comfortable with. But Yeah, people can react badly, but it’s about knowing that the win is not in their reaction.
And also, just know that there is such a community. Even though I think it’s a smaller community, but there is such a community of people, of women doing this work and showing up in a different way. It’s why I run a group in terms of my group coaching so that women can see that even if their friends and their family aren’t doing this work. They can see and be inspired by people who are doing this work who are showing up in a different way. Who are starting to prioritize themselves and their needs and their values and you you mentioned it as well and maybe not in exact these words, but it’s like when you actually do that it might seem selfish but what actually happens as a result is you become so much more able to give and you give from a place of love rather than being resentful of not having enough time, of feeling stretched, of, not being what you want to do.
It’s like you’re actually giving from a place of truth and love. So, I am all for actually being selfish because it ends up reaping benefits for everyone around you.
Krati: I love what you’ve shared. You know, my approach is very resilience driven.
My approach is very, let’s allow the pain to come in and let’s allow as much of it as we can and let’s go through it. So I love your approach. I think your approach is will, will be a lot better for some people, for people who carry a lot of fear because I think you need a gentle touch. You don’t necessarily have to break everything apart, which is something which is how I did things when I was recovering from depression.
You know, life is just, I’m living the wrong life. I broke literally everything apart and I ended up all alone, but I’m someone who’s very comfortable with solitude. So it didn’t, it didn’t bother me as much as it would bother someone who needs people in life, who has a very dominant need for people. I think your approach is way better.
I always tell people when you’re giving someone advice, when you’re telling them to change things about themselves, especially when it comes to language or saying no, setting boundaries, you have to be very careful. You have to actually consider who this person is and how comfortable they will be with the consequences of what is about to happen because when you have lived life a certain way and you’ve been going left your whole life, now you’re going right. You will have to face the consequences of that. And are you ready for it? So I’m all for it, like I’m all for jump in, let’s take all the pain in, let’s take it on and we’ll get through it but that’s not for everyone actually.
Sophie: I do love what you’re saying. And I think in certain, situations, it’s like super, super important. Like the fact is change and uncertainty is, does cause discomfort and you’re so, right, you build a resilience for that discomfort. Like I am totally happy not knowing what I’m doing next year yet, [00:51:00] where I’m going to live, what I’m going to, you know, I’m happy with that, but I was not years and years ago.
So you build a capacity for that uncertainty. There’s something really I think reassuring about the fact that the truth is, if you are in uncertainty, the likelihood is you are growing. So, growth equals discomfort, growth equals uncertainty. So, even though when you’re in it, it feels awful, and frustrating, and scary, but It’s a sign that you’re on the right path.
And I totally agree, I, with emotions, we’ve got to feel them. And what, my kind of guide around emotions is, can you feel the emotion, without the stories, right? So if you feel lonely, where’s it coming up in your body? What’s going on? How does your heart feel? How does your head feel? How does your throat feel?
Does it bring tears? How can you sit with that emotion? Cause emotions are just energy in that need to be in motion. And what happens is that they get stuck in our bones and our tissues and our bodies. And so allowing the emotions to arise without the story, because the story is the suffering, story is the pain.
The story is the unnecessary pain. So the story is something like I’m lonely. Because I’m not worthy of friends. I’m lonely because I failed. I’m lonely because I got everything wrong. Those stories are the ego. Those stories we can start to let go of them. These are the stories, the negative dialogue that we can start to say, I’m not going there.
But we can still sit in the pain. We can still sit in that sadness. And it might not be feeling lonely, it might be feeling sad. Or it might be feeling anger. And actually allowing yourself to healthily process anger, again without the story, but just the, what does it physically bring up in you? Can you punch a pillow?
Can you scream into your pillow? But not allowing it to be stuck in the body. Actually allowing it to be expressed because When we suppress emotions, I actually, in terms of like, I call them difficult emotions. I don’t think they’re negative. I think they’re difficult. I think we have to all deal with them.
When we suppress that, we’re also actually suppressing the other beautiful emotions. It doesn’t just work one way. So we my ability to now literally feel joy and feeling alive and feeling peace and happiness, that ability, that expansion has come from The real process of feeling grief, pain, sadness, disappointment, frustration, anger.
I’ve had to feel that in order to also allow myself to welcome in and receive the emotions that we all want to receive. Like, I think feeling alive is one of the most important things we can do. It will feel. So, I do think your, that approach is also… Huge and such a, such a part of my process as well.
Krati: Yeah, I love that. I can listen to you all day. Okay, when someone has made a lot of mistakes in their life and now they finally take a pause and they start to assess things like you’ve been recommending that people do. If you’ve really disappointed yourself, you’ve really let yourself down. How do you make your way back to a place of strength?
You know, find it in you to make decisions with conviction.
Sophie: I think if you’re in a lot of like blame and shame from the mistakes you’ve made, I really, really recommend working with someone because when you are in that place, I think having a person there to help pull you out of victimhood mode and blame and shame, because they’re very corrosive, states to be in.
I think, definitely get some help and I think that one thing that has always helped me with, Realizing I made mistakes in my relationship with my ex husband, you know, I didn’t show up in certain ways, I, you know, we all have feelings of regret and mistakes that we hold. And what I just say to myself is, I didn’t have the tools that I now have.
I didn’t have those tools at the time. I wouldn’t have behaved any differently. Because I literally didn’t have the tools. I didn’t know then what I know now but what I know now allows me to expand and grow and to see that my mistakes are actually such an amazing stepping stone to success and to moving forwards like every single person in the world who is hugely successful has made Failure, mistake, after mistake, after failure.
It’s just a part of life and not seeing it as something that has to be this heavy weight, but actually seeing this as something that was there to teach you. Something that was there as like a guide and a gift.
Krati: right? Let me just ask you because you’ve already shared about your rituals, which I have loved so I think this would also be massively helpful. What do you do when you feel really really angry but you understand that expressing that anger in that moment is going to cause a lot of damage? What do you do then?
What do you do when you feel like someone you care about deeply is misunderstanding you and you feel a sense of betrayal in that moment?
Thirdly, what do you do if you’ve gone through like a wringer, like physically exhausted, emotionally exhausted, how do you recover? What are your go to practice in those three scenarios?
Sophie: Okay, well so what I would say, the first thing that kind of comes to mind is… Do not have the discussion when you are triggered. If you are feeling, like, insanely angry, walk away. Because you’re going to say something that you, that possibly is not in alignment to, you know, what you, what you really believe.
And if this is, it kind of depends, right? Is this a relationship that’s really important to you? Or is this someone who’s attacking you in the moment and you’re saying, hey. Let me stop you right there. Do not speak to me like that. You know, that might be, like, really appropriate. So it really depends on the situation.
But I’m just thinking of, like, if this is someone you love, and this is someone who you want a relationship with, learn to take 10, 20 minutes out. Because when you’re triggered, what happens? You are in the surv your survival mechanism. You are coming from your inner child, your wounded inner child, that is stamping…
That is upset and hurt and normally when we’re triggered in this way, there’s another quote that I love from a teacher of mine called Mark Groves and he says, whatever is hysterical is historical. So, if you’re reacting to something with a lot of anger, when something’s maybe… It’s, you know, not huge happened like the, when the reaction outweighs what happened, the likelihood is this is coming from your limiting beliefs.
You feeling like this as a child, it’s triggering something. So take a moment out, take a moment to pause, breathe, talk to yourself. Self soothing is so important. I am safe hand on heart, being with yourself, trusting yourself, allowing your nervous system to regulate. And then going and having a conscious, constructive, conversation. So that was, that’s the anger one. What was the second one?
Krati: If someone you care deeply about is misunderstanding you is, has built a picture of you that is just not consistent with who you believe yourself to be.
Sophie: So again, the same things apply if you’re really triggered. The other thing is that you’re, you’re potentially, in that scenario, projecting that they are thinking this about you and they don’t. And it might be more about you and what you’re thinking about you. Like. Obviously, each, each, each situation is so different, like, I don’t know the background of this, of what’s actually going on, what the dynamics are, but there’s something interesting in thinking about the way we react to people is often a mirror of what’s going on inside ourselves. So if we’re judging someone else, we’re often judging ourself a lot.
So if we’re projecting that they’re misunderstanding us, are we misunderstanding us? Like, what’s actually going on here?
So we’d have to like, dive deeper into the relationship dynamics but, as a general, conscious communication is about eye language. Not saying, you did this. but saying, when this happened, I felt misunderstood. I felt betrayed. When you do that, you push the ownership on yourself and you give the other person the opportunity to apologize, to explain their point of view.
But so often we go, you made me feel this. You made me feel betrayed. You made me feel misunderstood. You don’t understand me. There’s the Gottmans Actually, I’m not talking about the Gottmans. The Gottmans are great though. The Gottmans talk about the four behaviors that are likely to predict a divorce.
So they’re really interesting to look into and it’s content, criticism, stonewalling, and defensiveness. But the the people I’m actually talking about my brain is a little bit foggy, but I’ll remember their names. They talk about being over the net with our communication. So what they say is that we hold three realities.
Number one is what actually happened, the fact of what happened. Number two is The impact it had on someone. And number three is the intention. So basically, we don’t want to be over the net. So I can’t say, by you saying something to me, I can’t say, you intended to hurt me. Because I actually don’t know your intention.
And equally, you can’t say, you shouldn’t be hurt by that. Because you don’t know what the impact is on me. So we stick to our side of the net. So it’s like, my intention was never to hurt you. I’m sorry that you feel misunderstood, but my intention was never to hurt you. What can I do to reassure you? Right, that would be good, great communication.
Same thing of like, I understand that your intention wasn’t to hurt me, but the impact that had was I felt really hurt. I felt in pain. Do you see? So the language is like really, really important in these, in these situations. I can’t remember what the third scenario was.
Krati: So for some reason, you’ve gone through like a days and days of a lot of work and you’re mentally, physically tired. Now, finally, things have slowed down. What is the first thing you do to recover from that?
Sophie: I mean the main thing is how can you rest and recuperate? And I mean real rest and recuperation because quite often we’ll think that?
Like sitting in our bed with our laptop and just doing some emails is rest and it’s not.
So really getting deep rest. And that might be in the form of some more kind of gentle exercise practices, you know, some stretching, some yin yoga is wonderful.
It’s a hugely meditative yoga practice. I mean, meditation, the rest you get from it is, I think it’s five times deeper than sleep. So for me, like my meditation is just such a powerful practice for me to recuperate. A gentle walk, being out in nature listening to music, you know, just, just simple practices of rest, like really resting and seeing the power of rest.
Rest is not weakness. Rest is not laziness. Rest is hugely, hugely powerful, but unfortunately most of us think that being productive is what we’re here for. And actually rest is just hugely productive to us, but we don’t, we don’t see that until we burn out. Right.
Sophie: So yeah, I would say that that’s kind of my, my practices.
Also like for me, I love cooking. Like if I, I’ll cook like a simple meal. But it’s like, feels like I’m nourishing my body. I’m giving my, myself something really nutritious. And I’ve made the effort to do that. So that’s something I’ll do today. Switching off to a great series as well, you know, I’m definitely going to be doing that later today.
But yeah, I would say, say rest and connection as well. You know, getting on the phone to a good friend, just having a natter to someone that it’s easy to talk to. But Yeah. I think part of this is discovering what. What, what brings you that, what brings you that sense of peace, that sense of meditation?
Like for a lot of people, it would be like getting creative. I have one client who knits in the evening, you know, it might be having your your herbal tea or, painting or drawing, you know, it’s just, it’s what I would definitely say creativity is a, is a wonderful way of bringing in a, well actually bringing in a sense of Intrinsic value.
So, we are often doing things for extrinsic value. Like, what can I achieve? Am I going to get praised? Where am I going to go by doing this? But like, I play my guitar because it’s… I do it because I love it. I play and sing and I’m not great at it, but I love it. It makes me feel alive. It’s like the thing that puts me in my flow state, right?
Time will go, like an hour will go and I won’t even have noticed because I’m just absorbed by it. So finding those things that put you in your flow state, that absorb you, that are just for intrinsic value and pleasure. And there’s a lot of research that has gone into rates of depression and anxiety being less in the people who perform intrinsic value activities.
Krati: True. That’s massively helpful. Thank you.