We talk to Sophie Belle, mindfulness and wellness expert and breathwork speaker.

18th Jan 2024

Sophie Belle, mindfulness and wellness expert and breathwork speaker chats with Jane Farnham, Director of Great British Speakers.

We learn from breathwork speaker Sophie Belle how best to manage workplace stress through breathing and breathwork.

Sophie Belle, a passionate breathwork speaker, has had a diverse professional journey, working in marketing agencies across the UK & Asia and establishing herself as a food entrepreneur in London. It was during this time that she realized the immense impact of stress, which hindered many individuals who seemingly “had it all” from truly enjoying life.

Driven by her own mindfulness practice and extensive research in stress and human behaviour, Sophie Belle took her dedication to the next level. She trained as a trauma-informed Breathwork Facilitator and Feminine Energy Coach, making it her full-time mission to educate people about the scientifically-backed effectiveness of breathwork.

Sophie Belle’s expertise in breathwork has garnered attention from various media outlets, including ITV’s This Morning, Grazia, Metro, Sheerluxe, and Glamour. Moreover, she boasts an impressive client list that includes renowned organizations such as Soho House, NotontheHighStreet.com, ITV, Sainsbury’s, Getty Images, and ING Bank.

Discover the transformative power of breathwork with Sophie Belle, the esteemed breathwork speaker. Contact us today to secure her services for your next event and empower your audience with the science-based benefits of breathwork and mindfulness.

Contact Great British Speakers today to book breathwork speaker Sophie Belle for your next event.

Here’s the full transcript of breathwork speaker Sophie Belle‘s chat with Jane Farnham of Great British Speakers:

00:00:00:09 – 00:00:08:29
Jane Farnham
Hello, I’m Jane Farnham from Great British speakers, and I’m here today chatting to the lovely mental health and wellness expert and breathwork speaker, Sophie Belle. Hello, Sophie, How are you?

00:00:09:01 – 00:00:12:52
Sophie Belle
Hi, Jane. I’m really well, thank you. Thank you so much for having me on.

00:00:12:52 – 00:00:38:00
Jane Farnham
Thank you for agreeing to chat to us. So I’m really interested about today’s session and learning more about what you do because we all have obviously our ups and downs. So what I’m looking to pick up some top tips, what with being a single mum, three kids working full time. There’s lots going on. So before we get into the speaking side of things and the mental health subjects, just tell us a little bit about your background on life prior to all of this.

00:00:38:52 – 00:01:06:14
Sophie Belle
Yes. So I my journey was definitely very much patient to practitioner. I never saw myself in this kind of therapeutic work because I was in the corporate world. I worked in fast paced agencies across London and then moved to Asia, where I was traveling all over the place, living high, pressured, busy expat life. And then I moved back to London and started a business.

00:01:06:14 – 00:01:40:53
Sophie Belle
I thought it would be easier, but that stress and pressure has stayed with me. So that was really where I came in to doing more mindfulness and alongside two pregnancies which ended up into with two young children, but also a lot of anxiety in one of my pregnancies, a lot more work, pressure, tricky investor relations, and my mother also became very ill with cancer, so I was totally burnt out and I had some issues with my heart early on in my career, which started to come back as well.

00:01:40:53 – 00:01:51:05
Sophie Belle
So I really was living in constant survival mode before I started doing Breathwork, which was more of a tool before it became my career.

00:01:52:26 – 00:02:15:07
Jane Farnham
So Breathwork Tell me a little bit about that, because I’m always being asked by my clients for key takeaways, so I wanted to find out straight. Let’s just get stuck into that side of things. So obviously experienced stress burnout in the workplace. I mean, how did you then find out about Breathwork that was obviously from for your own personal journey and, and what results did you see?

00:02:16:01 – 00:02:31:10
Sophie Belle
So my mum was a yoga teacher, so she was always telling me to do Breathwork. And I think when it’s your parents, you just don’t tend to listen. But I got to a point. My I was offered medication during one of my, my second pregnancy and I really thought, I’m just going to try and make a change first.

00:02:31:10 – 00:02:55:40
Sophie Belle
So she taught me some really simple techniques and I was I was astounded at how firstly, how simple they were to implement and how much they actually impacted me. And I, I just loved how you didn’t have to make time for Breathwork for it to be effective. And now obviously I do make a lot of time breathwork because the more you do, you know, the more benefit you can see.

00:02:55:40 – 00:03:25:17
Sophie Belle
You really can. It’s cumulative. But when I started reading more about the breath, how to actually breathe properly, over 70% of us don’t breathe properly. It really became clear to me that there was such an opportunity to be able to teach more people this incredible, free, constantly accessible tool that, you know, really just with some tiny tweaks, you could start taking this practice of breathwork into your life.

00:03:25:17 – 00:03:31:28
Sophie Belle
And and it really has been transformative for me and for everyone that I’ve worked with.

00:03:32:20 – 00:03:46:57
Jane Farnham
So I’ve heard about the Wim method and box breathing. Is there a specific type of breathing that you do, or is it a lot of different types that you can do in different circumstances, depending on where you are?

00:03:47:36 – 00:04:17:15
Sophie Belle
Yes, there are loads of different types. So when half is, that’s more of a kind of exploratory. I call it therapy without the talking breath that where it’s more intense, you’re really it goes to such a level that you are actually able to release trauma and that’s through completely altering your state of consciousness. But day to day I focus on teaching breathwork exercises which calm the nervous system down, how you basically come out of survival mode, which is key.

00:04:17:36 – 00:04:45:41
Sophie Belle
So if I just gave you one now to take away with you. So it’s just very simply called the four, seven, eight breath, so you can kind of guess what we have to do. So you breathe and four, four and you hold the seven and then you breathe out for eight. So that breath holds is going to build up the carbon dioxide in your blood system, and that activates the vagus nerve, which takes you from fight or flight to rest and repair.

00:04:45:41 – 00:05:06:21
Sophie Belle
And that slow long exhale does exactly the same thing. So if you even do that ten times on the commute at your desk in a meeting, then you will really notice a shift in how you’re feeling. Because ultimately, if we’re changing how a breathing, we really can change how we feel.

00:05:06:21 – 00:05:26:27
Jane Farnham
Wow. So it’s simplest. So in four four, hold for seven out for eight. It’s actually a state to change your state of mind and make you a bit calmer. You can take it even if you don’t feel comfortable doing that in front of other people. It’s just something you can do on your, you know, take yourself off to the toilets and just. Yeah, right.

00:05:27:03 – 00:05:49:40
Sophie Belle
I mean, exactly. And even if you are in a meeting or you, you know, I mean, this is when I have to do a lot with my kids is just slow down the exhale. You don’t even need to count, you know, just breathe in and out through the nice slow down the exhale and that will really bring you to a much more grounded, calmer place so that you can then respond rather than react.

00:05:50:25 – 00:05:55:48
Jane Farnham
On a very good point. So is it through the nose and out through the mouth or both in the next week announced.

00:05:56:09 – 00:06:26:11
Sophie Belle
And in and out through the nose. So you have to breathe properly day to day. You should be breathing in and out through the night anyway. And some people with Breathwork exercise, they do encourage you to breathe out through the mouth, which you can do because actually physiologically that is quite a good release. But I would say if you’re doing a few minutes, just do in and out through the night because then you’re keeping that balance of carbon dioxide and oxygen in your blood and you know, it’s stabilizing that balance.

00:06:27:07 – 00:06:36:59
Jane Farnham
So this is a great takeaway for big corporate clients. But there are obviously other ways you can manage stress and anxiety. Oh, any of those.

00:06:38:16 – 00:06:56:47
Sophie Belle
Yes. So I think mindfulness in general, just being very present with what you’re doing is a really, you know, is a fantastic way of helping you come out of your head. I think ultimately when people get stressed that very much in their head. So it’s about coming into your body. But I really think that it’s about having fun.

00:06:56:47 – 00:07:17:25
Sophie Belle
So anything that you do that brings you any even a pocket of joy and ease, then that is going to really help you to reduce your stress levels. And, you know, even if it’s just a tiny bit, it’s about finding those little glimmers where you’re feeling more positive and you’re out of your head, most importantly.

00:07:18:23 – 00:07:34:48
Jane Farnham
So you might be excused for thinking that a lot of high profile clients got it all sussed. You know, they’re successful business people. I hear you’ve got some high profile coaching clients. How do you help them? Because it seems on the surface I suppose that they’ve got it all.

00:07:34:48 – 00:08:00:52
Sophie Belle
So yeah, so they it’s really about helping them manage challenges as those challenges get bigger. So if any, if there’s anyone who’s ambitious, they’re always going to want to get to that next level and they’re going to want to be challenged because they want to grow. So having Breathwork as a tool, I mean, there are three main ways that it can help you.

00:08:01:13 – 00:08:19:42
Sophie Belle
So it’s it’s really that restoration. So it helps you to calm the body. That’s really where that nervous system regulation comes in. So if you’re very busy, if you have a lot of pressure and demands on you, then that’s where you’re going to feel much calmer and that will be taken into your day to day from doing a session.

00:08:20:20 – 00:08:40:37
Sophie Belle
The next part is the release and we we touched briefly on half and it’s about altering your state of consciousness or just getting in into that much more relaxed zone where you can let go and release that tension and you can work with the practitioner to get even deeper and release trauma and then also just reconnecting with yourself.

00:08:40:37 – 00:09:01:06
Sophie Belle
So if you can imagine, you know, when you’re a really high profile person, you have a lot of people beneath. You have to make very big decisions, feeling very connected to yourself. Your intuition is actually a real power and you’re always going to have those more masculine goals. But being able to center and come back to yourself and think, What do I actually really think?

00:09:01:06 – 00:09:25:57
Sophie Belle
Rather than being in a place of making these decisions in panic mode in your head or from a a real place of kind of scattered emotions, you know, if you’re feeling really, really highly emotional and you’re having to make these decisions or, you know, work with people, whatever it is being pulled in many directions, it’s it’s really helpful to be able to come back and know how to reset as well.

00:09:25:57 – 00:09:36:57
Sophie Belle
So it’s it’s kind of a self-development journey so that you can grow at the same time as having a really solid set of tools that are always accessible to you.

00:09:37:58 – 00:10:06:03
Jane Farnham
So it’s definitely a great one for teams of people who work in very stressful environments. I can really see how it works and obviously there’s some immediate benefits as well, which is sometimes big. And I think, you know, I mean, we’re both ladies and we you know, obviously you talk about female wellness and energy and motherhood and prenatal wellness, etc., but how gender specific are the challenges that you see people face in a work environment?

00:10:07:33 – 00:10:35:16
Sophie Belle
I think that women tend to be more open about their challenges. And I think that women thrive more when they are connected to that more feminine energy in terms of being open to their emotions and intuition. But feminine energy is really, you know, so relevant to men and women, and particularly as society’s changing and being more open and fluid, it’s really important for everyone to tap into that side of them.

00:10:35:43 – 00:11:02:07
Sophie Belle
But I think when it does come to women, there’s something that being talked about at the moment, which is called the triple shift. So one of my clients, Holly Tucker, I was on her IGTV yesterday and she was talking about it. And it’s where women, obviously the mothers of the family traditionally and most of the time, so that that’s already a factor.

00:11:02:07 – 00:11:23:43
Sophie Belle
They’re now working full time. And often the is on top of that, just the way that it is, is that they do tend to be the person who is in charge and looking after managing the household as well, which I’m sure we can both agree is it is a big job, But it’s one of those things you don’t understand until you have to do it.

00:11:23:43 – 00:11:47:16
Sophie Belle
And that is a huge amount of pressure. That’s a lot of juggling, that’s a lot of a huge amount of demands. The mental load is is you know, it’s no no wonder that people get lost underneath that mental load. And then they say, I don’t know what I do for me, I don’t know what makes me laugh. I don’t know what brings me joy or what I like doing anymore.

00:11:47:16 – 00:12:23:00
Sophie Belle
So I really do work with people to help bring that out. And actually, it’s it’s often taking really simple questions, really simple steps to help people find themselves again. And the breath is just such a wonderful way to give them that space to just be human and, and decompress. And when I see the teams that I work with and businesses, the the faces at the end just say, Oh, there’s such a lightness, a freshness and when they do it regularly as well, you know, they really all say it’s so life changing.

00:12:23:00 – 00:12:35:24
Sophie Belle
It’s it’s such a simple thing, which is why I think until you tried it, you almost think, how can this be so life changing? We all breathe anyway. But it is just incredible. The power of the breath.

00:12:36:16 – 00:13:35:16
Jane Farnham
I take with you. And, you know, here’s the difference is when anybody ever talks about mindfulness in the past, I’ve always switched off. I think, Oh, I just don’t have the time to be mindful, you know, It’s just my brain’s going tend to. That doesn’t do that. The great thing about Breathwork, it’s it gives you something to focus on and it’s practical so you don’t feel like you’re just sitting there. All men like you feel like you’re actually doing something. So for people like us who like to be doing something of significance, that’s what helps you have that because is still mindfulness. It’s allowing you to focus on the breath and it’s and it’s giving you something to distract you while you’re healing and while you’re being one with yourself and calming down and de-stressing. I think it’s great. I mean, all the telltale signs in the workplace that would indicate people are really struggling.

00:13:36:19 – 00:13:57:07
Sophie Belle
I would say that if someone is constantly on, if they’re always emailing like that, always on their phone, they’re always kind of rushing about. I would say that is that’s a sign that they will eventually burn out. It’s really not healthy to to be doing that consistently. I understand that people go through busy periods and stuff needs to get done.

00:13:57:07 – 00:14:20:18
Sophie Belle
And that’s, you know, what I completely understand is, well, I’ve worked in those environments. I get that you can’t just say you’re tired and you want to go to bed sometimes, but it’s really finding that balance and trusting that you’re not going to lose that productivity by taking some rest. But you can also just tell a lot by someone’s breath or if they’re, you know, going like this a lot and their chest, you know, touching that upper chest.

00:14:20:18 – 00:14:41:07
Sophie Belle
If they do tend to be breathing quite shallowly. And I can always tell when I am when I’m talking to my clients, if something’s stressing them out, I can see the way that their breath changes. And so if you’re noticing someone sighing a lot, someone’s needing to gulp a lot of air and that is a real sign that they’re in there in fight or flight mode.

00:14:41:07 – 00:14:57:16
Jane Farnham
So when you let’s talk about your actual sessions. If you’re working with a team of people, a corporate client who has a team around them and they’re trying to help them, would you start off with a talk and then you follow up with sort of a session, an actual practical session, a briefing? What would you do that one on one?

00:14:57:18 – 00:15:21:43
Sophie Belle
You know, so I do a lot of workshops which are really effective. And what I do is I give a talk with some practical examples and tools. And this is in a bigger scenario, if I’m talking to a bigger group of people and then we’ll do a guided breathwork so they get that chance to actually decompress, but they can also experience the different techniques and have a chance to practice, you know, and be accountable to do that.

00:15:22:28 – 00:15:46:15
Sophie Belle
And then in smaller groups there might be a little bit more feedback. We can talk more specifically about challenges or I’ve even been included in a way days where it’s actually an energizer. It’s actually a chance to decompress that recharge. And there’s a real focus on, you know, let’s slow down for a moment so that we can come back, focus and be productive.

00:15:46:40 – 00:16:14:24
Sophie Belle
So there are there are real range of things. And I work with people 1 to 1 particularly. I find a lot of people going back to work after maternity leave that kind of get they’re in that shift where they really trying to juggle a lot. So there’s a real range. But I would say a great starting point is a workshop where you can teach practical tools, people can actually practice them and so they have something tangible to take away and start using straight away.

00:16:14:54 – 00:16:33:30
Jane Farnham
Yeah, I love the fact that it’s interactive. It makes it far more engaging, actually. It’s something. And then you can take that away afterwards and not just use it in your business life, but also your personal life, which tends to be as busy as you. And I know we’ve got one particular example where you’ve really made a difference with with this technique.

00:16:34:44 – 00:17:01:06
Sophie Belle
So I can think of a time where I could see immediate results and everyone couldn’t believe the shift that that was happening. And it was in a group of about ten and we did a range of different exercises, but the focus was actually on tapping into that intuition. So taking away all the noise so that they could actually really get a feeling for how they were at the time and what they wanted to do.

00:17:01:06 – 00:17:31:55
Sophie Belle
So we focused on it in a very much a positive way because I think sometimes, especially when you talk about a gut feeling, it can be a negative thing, but actually using it as a way to empower them to get clarity, inspiration. And it was a group who who were all entrepreneurs. So they really were excited about getting back to their work that day, coming up with ideas, being creative, and I could just see it in all of their faces and everyone just wanted to stay and talk about their experience.

00:17:31:55 – 00:17:35:22
Sophie Belle
So that was that. Something was a really, really special workshop.

00:17:36:12 – 00:17:54:48
Jane Farnham
It’s just an amazing opportunity to pause and refocus our energies and just, you know, think about what you’re trying to achieve. It’s, I think baby steps along the way. But finally, I know we’ve been chatting for a while. Sophie, What gives you the biggest plus of being a wellness and breathwork speaker in general?

00:17:54:48 – 00:18:21:47
Sophie Belle
I think it’s just making the instant difference to people because I know how stressful life can be and I know how hard it can be to juggle and giving people that space to actually not feel alone in that and for them to be able to experience that at the same time within a team is really special. And then to give them something, even if it’s one thing, I know that all of them make a difference.

00:18:21:47 – 00:18:34:44
Sophie Belle
So if they can just take away one, I know that that’s going to impact them in such a positive way and help them feel much more in control of of how they’re feeling and give them hope really, that they can feel better.

00:18:35:43 – 00:18:45:09
Jane Farnham
What’s such a lovely, lovely message, lovely takeaway and just remind me insists in fact for hold for seven out for eight and how many.

00:18:45:09 – 00:18:45:40
Sophie Belle
Yes.

00:18:45:41 – 00:18:49:24
Jane Farnham
You change your perspective and sir around yourself.

00:18:49:53 – 00:19:07:42
Sophie Belle
I think just do it ten times and your nights the difference or if you don’t want to count, you can set a timer for 3 minutes. And it’s scientifically proven that just doing 3 minutes a day of conscious breathing makes a positive impact on your health, in particular, your heart rate variability, which is one of the key, key measures of health.

00:19:08:43 – 00:19:14:58
Jane Farnham
I love it. I think I’ve just got one question because I’m really curious. How do people breathe incorrectly.

00:19:15:41 – 00:19:39:37
Sophie Belle
So they tend to breathe in and out through the mouth and they that means that that breathing up in their chest and then they’ll hunched their shoulders. So their whole breath is focused on that top part of their respiratory system. And they really need to get it into the bottom of their spirit tree system, because also when you’re breathing through the mouth, breathing in too much ash, the the body, it’s almost like you’re eating too much food.

00:19:39:59 – 00:19:54:12
Sophie Belle
You can’t the body has to do something with it and it can fatigue you. So that’s why it’s so important to to learn that there are such simple stats. And you guys have a video now where you can learn to breathe properly. So it’s really easy, easy tweaks to make.

00:19:54:52 – 00:20:04:33
Jane Farnham
I think we can look at that on the website. So thank you so much. I’ve learned so much and I’m going to be utilizing those tips day to day from here on in. But thank you for your time today.

00:20:05:04 – 00:20:09:09
Sophie Belle
Pleasure. Thank you so much. And I look forward to hearing how you find the tips as well.

00:20:09:39 – 00:20:21:36
Jane Farnham
I will take well, if you’d like to book or find out more about breathwork speaker Sophie, then then simply contact myself or Steve at Great British Speakers on 01753439289 or you can email bookings at bookings@greatbritishtalent.com.

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Sophie Belle, Breathwork Speaker at Great British Speakers

Sophie Belle, Breathwork Speaker at Great British Speakers

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