Life is stressful. Work. Kids. Responsibilities. Traffic. Terrible drivers. So much of it is out of our control, setting us on the road to Stress City, population: You.
We can’t take the stressors away, but we can equip you with a breathing technique proven to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Yep. You’re just a few cyclic sighs away from the emotional equivalent of sitting seaside with your favorite beverage in hand and the sound of the waves drowning out the ding of your email. Keep reading to learn how to cyclic sigh your way to stress relief!
What is cyclic sighing?
To cyclic sigh, breathe in through your nose to fill your lungs halfway. Then pause, and breathe in again through your nose to fill your lungs. Next, exhale through your mouth slowly until the air is all gone. Whether you want to make an audible “ahhh” sound as you release your breath is up to you.
Now, set your timer for five minutes and repeat until the timer goes off. While most people start to feel relief after two or three breaths, keep going for the full five minutes to achieve ultimate anxiety relief through cyclic sighing.
While this may feel awkward initially, this type of breathing is an entirely natural process. Most people take one of these breaths involuntarily every five minutes, and it’s common when crying, sleeping, or in the moments before falling asleep.
Why does cyclic sighing relieve stress?
While many different methods of breathing can aid in your relaxation, cyclic sighing has the research to back it up. A study published by Cell Reports Medicine compared several types of breathwork and found that cyclic sighing showed the best results for reducing a person’s respiratory rate and improving their mood. Unlike other types of breathing, cyclic sighing showed increased benefits if practiced consistently.
Compared to the short in-and-out breaths of hyperventilation you take when scared, controlled cyclic sighs (also known as physiological sighs) activate your parasympathetic nervous system. This network of nerves can reduce your heart rate, blood pressure, promote digestion, and help you feel more relaxed.
It’s not always possible to remove the stressors from your life, but if you can find five minutes per day to practice cyclical sighing, you can change how you view and react to your stressors.
As an athlete, achieving relaxation is key to recovery. After an epic training session (especially evening workouts), you may find it hard to wind down and get ready for bed. Practice cyclic sighing for five minutes daily to help you calm down, reduce stress, and promote recovery so you can get some sleep and feel ready to take on tomorrow!
Are you looking for a fitness brand that can help you balance tough training with real results? Enhancewell Fitness’s online group and private workout sessions can help you see the results in a fun, encouraging, judgment-free setting. Sign up today and start smashing your goals!
Ready? Set? Sigh!