It’s quite by accident that I discovered the scientific art of sighing. I was video hopping on You Tube and discovered the video above. I encourage you to try it too during stressful moments.

What is it all about?

New research out of Stanford Medicine suggests that a sigh can be an effective method to combat anxiety. Called the ‘physiological sigh’, the study, led by expert neurobiologists, demonstrates the benefits of this controlled breathing technique.

The Technique

Begin by taking those two deep inhales through the nose, followed by a slow and extended exhale through the mouth, as demonstrated in the video above.

The Benefits

This technique, aptly named “Two Inhales, Followed by an Extended Exhale,” is a simple exercise, requiring no special equipment or cost. It’s a breathwork method that can be practiced anywhere. It is a tool for calming overwhelm.

While even just a few rounds of this sighing exercise can induce a sense of relaxation, the true benefits come from dedicating around five minutes to the cyclic sighing routine. The second inhale is particularly significant, as Huberman explains in the video, allowing for increased oxygen intake and the release of carbon dioxide—a crucial aspect of this process.

Equally important is the exhale. It triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, which in turn reduces heart rate and delivers an overall soothing effect to the body. This connection between breath and relaxation is shedding new light on the world of breathwork, an ancient practice found in various traditions like yoga, tai chi, and meditation.

For once sighing has become acceptable. I constantly sigh when the going gets tough despite getting strange looks from those around me. Sighing makes me feel better and that was before I discovered physiological sighing as a science. I am no scientist but I do wonder whether sighing is the body’s automatic response to stress.

Happy sighing.