Reduce Anxiety & Improve Mood by Breathing!!!Jan 27, 2023
The most effective breathing technique to reduce stress and anxiety - and it only takes a couple of minutes????
This breath, called the cyclic sigh, or physiological sigh, was recently reported to lower state anxiety and improve mood more effectively than box breathing or meditation.
It's quick and easy to do, and the benefits can be felt after just 3 to 4 rounds of the breath!
I first heard about this breath almost a year ago from Dr. Andrew Huberman, one of the researchers who conducted and published the study.
It's effective in just short bursts, is free, and can be done anywhere, anytime you're feeling stressed, anxious, or even just want a pick me up!
*** Parents - share this one with your kids - I've taught it to my daughter's class at school and I've heard from both the kids and the parents that it helped!
Breathwork is showing to be so helpful for kids trying to cope in this post-pandemic world that the New York City public school systems plans to implement daily breathwork practices for all students next year.
So what is this breath practice?
It's cyclic sighing (also called the physiologic sigh). The breathing pattern mimics a natural breath that humans make when relieving tension, like when crying, yet it's done intentionally to help change our emotional and physiological states. It also helps to lower respiration and heart rate (both of which become elevated during stress responses).
How to do cyclic sighing?
- inhale 2 sniffs through the nose
- slightly hold
- and then one slow sighing exhale out the mouth
- repeat 3 times
Pay attention to how you're feeling during the breath. You might find that one or two cycles is enough, you're not trying to end up sleepy.
When to practice cyclic sighing?
You can practice this regularly both when you're feeling anxious and when you're just looking for a bit more balance. One or two cycles is definitely enough if you're not feeling stressed.
If you want to use this as a tool to help you manage and reduce stress in an activated moment, I recommend initially and frequently practicing the breath when you are already feeling calm. Then it will be more effective at bringing you relief when you're stressed or activated.
Your nervous system will have an imprint of the experience and "remember" that this breathing pattern helps calm you down.
How often to practice?
A daily breathwork practice (or even a few times throughout the day) is recommended. Participants in the research study practiced for 5 minutes once a day. Benefits can also be felt with shorter practice sessions, spread throughout the day.
I encourage all my students to become a scientist for themselves - and experiment with techniques, when you practice, how long, and take note of which one brings YOU the best results!
Give it a try and let me know how it goes!
To read the full article click the link below.
Citation: Balban MY, Neri E, Kogon MM, Weed L, Nouriani B, Jo B, Holl G, Zeitzer JM, Spiegel D, Huberman AD. Brief structured respiration practices enhance mood and reduce physiological arousal. Cell Rep Med. 2023 Jan 17;4(1):100895. doi: 10.1016/j.xcrm.2022.100895. Epub 2023 Jan 10. PMID: 36630953; PMCID: PMC9873947.
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