Why is breathing properly important during stressful times?

In my work as a divorce consultant I meet people who are in lots of different emotional states. I often notice that when a client is anxious, they take a sudden fast intake of breath and seem to be breathing very shallowly. This is a sign of stress and anxiety which is very common during divorce.

However, it is very important for them to address this and working on their breathing alone can greatly reduce the symptoms of anxiety; allowing their minds and bodies to function more efficiently for them during this challenging time in their life.

I have been practising yoga for the last 3 years and the breathing exercises alone have made a big difference to me personally. So, I have approached my lovely yoga teacher, Faye Koe of Body Soul Yoga to tell us more about the importance of breathing properly. Faye is a British Wheel of Yoga Teacher and owner of Body Soul Yoga, in Walton on Thames in Surrey.

Here is what she had to say….

“If you are going through a stressful time you may not be breathing properly, and this may have a detrimental effect on your body, and your mind.

Whatever situation you are going through; whether it is a divorce, or moving home, or simply juggling life’s demands; it is important that you breathe for a purpose:  To fuel the body with oxygen and energy, to rid the body of carbon dioxide, to calm the mind, and to allow the body’s organs and systems to function properly.

Take a moment and try and notice your own breath.

Are you actually “breathing”, or are you holding your breath? Is your breath shallow or ragged?  Or is the breath long, smooth, full and deep? Take 12 breaths and notice what your breath is doing…   You may notice the breath slowing down all by itself and maybe your mind starts to feel a little bit quieter?

Stressful situations can cause you to breathe irregularly.

If you are breathing erratically, shallowly, almost panicking, then you are essentially on “flight or fight mode”, and the body starts to work differently.  Adrenaline is released into the body, the digestive system slows down, the heart rate and blood pressure increase.  You are on high alert, ready to face an attack or run from one!  If your body is under this constant pressure this can have a detrimental effect on your health and your ability to concentrate, make good decisions, digest food, sleep, your energy levels, your good temperament, and so on.  Basically, the things you need if you are facing change, or a challenge, or need to make big decisions in your life.

Yoga philosophy has confirmed that there is a direct link between the breath and the mind and body.

As your breathing becomes calmer, deeper and smoother, your mind also becomes calmer and able to make sensible choices and decisions; and your body starts functioning properly. If, even when the most stressful situations are occurring, you can learn to control the breath, then you can hopefully try and activate the parasympathetic nervous system and calm things down.

Therefore, it is important that you can focus on your breath and notice when you are not breathing properly and try and encourage a fuller, deeper, calmer breath; And, also take time out to unwind and give yourself permission to relax.”


To find out about Faye’s yoga classes in Walton on Thames in Surrey, click here. I may see you there!


My work as a divorce consultant involves supporting the individual person through their divorce journey. Everyone is different and requires different levels of support. I can help guide my clients through the legal process but am also very interested in helping them cope personally with their experience. Helping them to prioritise their self care is an important part of this. To find out more about how I may be able to help you, get in touch with me here.


If you have found the tips in this blog useful then you will find lots more in my ebook “Tips for Coping with Divorce” which you can download here: free ebook.

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