Article by: Sharri Freedman

Divorce stress and anxiety is real. Your heart begins to race, frustration and anger build, and you feel yourself losing control. This reaction is not unusual when your marriage is falling apart. When you feel anxiety and stress begin to bubble up, stop and take a moment to just breathe. 

Scientists suggest that when you are mindful of your breathing, and you take a moment to breathe deeply you can induce a sense of calm and tranquility.

Breathe, darling. This is just a chapter. It is not your whole story.

S.C. Lourie


Stress and anxiety are a normal response to a traumatic life event, such as divorce. According to Lucinda Bassett, CEO of the Midwest Center for Stress and Anxiety.” life changes such as divorce cause anxiety and stress because divorce creates an unknown, unpredicted situation with lots of insecurity, low self-esteem and fear.”

Jerilyn Ross M.A., L.I.C.S.W., author of Triumph Over Fear says, “If you’re going through a divorce it’s very normal and appropriate to have several weeks where you can’t sleep, cry a lot or feel frightened, angry, hurt, sad, scared, and abandoned.”

When you are in an unhappy marriage you may be living in a constant state of stress. Instead of your brain being in “fight or flight” mode a small percentage of the time, you live in “fight or flight” mode all of the time.

When you’re anxious, your brain is perceiving a threat.


Here are 5 tips to calm your brain and reduce divorce stress and anxiety:


1. Breathe

The key to stopping anxiety in its tracks is to breathe. Breathing deeply can signal your brain to return to relaxation mode. The way you breathe can have a dramatic effect on your stress levels. To reduce stress, try “box breathing.” Inhale to a count of four, hold your breath for a count of four, and exhale to a count of four and hold your lungs empty for a count of four. Repeat until you feel yourself relaxing.

2. Let Yourself Mourn

It is okay to be upset, angry, and/or confused. Give yourself time to mourn the ending of your marriage and the life you imagined. Cry, scream, journal, etc., just don’t allow yourself to wallow in your grief for too long. If you find you can’t get past your grief, seek help from a therapist or coach.

3. Remember Your Strengths

This is your life and you are in control. Don’t let anxiety and fear hold you hostage. Chances are you have experienced other stressful moments during your life. Think back to those moments. What did you do to get you through? How did they make you stronger? What lessons did you learn? Knowing that you made it through other stressful situations can provide the strength and power to overcome the challenges you currently face.

4. Have a Game Plan

Divorce has turned your world upside down and you are struggling to keep your head above water. Sound familiar? Without a game plan you will likely drift along until decisions are made for you, not by you-increasing your anxiety and stress. Remember that you hold the power and can control the course of your divorce. When you develop a strategic plan and know what direction you want to go in it becomes easier to deal with obstacles and challenges that will inevitably block your way.

5. Build a Support System

Having a support system is key to a healthier divorce experience. Friends and family know you best and can be a shoulder to lean on during difficult times. Support groups offer comfort from others who may be having similar experiences. Divorce professionals such as lawyers, financial advisors, therapists, and coaches offer expert perspective that friends and family do not have the knowledge or skill set to provide. Having supportive people around you will remind you that you are not alone in this difficult journey and may ease your stress and anxiety.



Sharri Freedman, Your Divorce Coach
Potomac Coaching, LLC
Coach, Attorney, Mediator, Collaborative Divorce Professional


Divorce does not have to be emotionally and financially devastating. Having helped individuals navigate relationships and the challenges of divorce for over 25 years, first as a family law attorney and more recently as a CDC Certified Divorce Coach®, Sharri understands the complex legal process and the importance of separating the business of divorce from the emotional aspects of ending a relationship. Whether you are considering divorce, in the middle of divorce, or struggling with post divorce challenges, Sharri’s expert guidance will help you move forward with confidence, clarity & grace. 


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