Are you feeling stressed? A simple technique known as “periodic sighing” can help you regain your composure in just a few minutes.
Researchers at Stanford Medicine found that this controlled breathing exercise (which involves exhaling very slowly) had positive effects in just five minutes, improving mood and reducing the rate of resting breaths. The latter is considered a sign of systemic calmness.
In a randomized controlled trial, researchers found that periodic sighing was more effective in reducing anxiety than mindfulness meditation or other breathing techniques.
Stressful events typically cause the body to experience physiological changes ranging from increased heart rate and rapid breathing to muscle tension and sweaty armpits.
These physical symptoms can trigger anxious thoughts and fears, especially in people with anxiety disorders.
Interventions such as periodic sighing can break patterns. Method is as follows.
- Breathe in through your nose until your lungs are comfortably full (about half full).
- Breathe in more deeply through your nose to completely fill your lungs.
- Exhale slowly through your mouth until all the air is gone.
Also, study co-leader Dr. David Spiegel explains periodic sighs and you can watch them in action. This Stanford Medicine video.
Researchers say you may notice positive changes after just doing this a few times, but you’re more likely to see the full effect if you stick to it for five minutes.
Why Periodic Sighs Work
why does it work? Breathing exercise stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, slows the heart rate, and has a calming effect throughout the body, according to researchers.
and Summary of findingsSpiegel — professor of medicine and vice chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine — says:
“Most of the time, breathing is automatic, like digestion, heart rate, and other bodily functions, but breathing can very easily take over and be controlled, and it can affect overall physiology and stress. It affects the reaction.”
in the trialfound that periodic sighing was more effective than mindfulness meditation in enhancing positive effects, including beneficial emotions such as energy, joy, and a sense of peace.
Researchers note that in mindfulness meditation, practitioners are instructed to be aware of their breathing. are instructed to avoid.
Researchers also found that periodic sighing was more effective at boosting well-being than two other controlled breathing techniques.
- Cyclic hyperventilation — emphasis on inspiration rather than expiration
- Box Breathing, also known as tactical breathing – emphasizes equal volume inhalation and exhalation, used by some military personnel to regulate stress and improve performance
Researchers say that people who practice periodic sighing typically notice slower breathing than those who use all other techniques. This effect lasts all day, “showing a lasting effect on physiology,” says Spiegel.