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A Sigh of Relief

I’ve been diving deep into breathwork over the last month. As always looking for the magical key that’s going to fix my health and make me functional again.

I haven’t found a magical key (yet), but I have learned a lot about tapping the breath’s ability to work wonders on the nervous system. 

I won’t go into the balance of gasses that we need in our bodies (it’s not just oxygen that’s important after all!) But, I do want to share with you this amazing, simple, little trick I’ve learned called the Sigh of Relief.

I’m sure you’ve sighed many times before, but you probably didn’t realize that there’s a pretty cool reason why you do it. It’s kind of like a built-in circuit breaker that our bodies trigger

automatically so that we don’t meltdown.

The great thing about it, is that you don’t need to wait until you desperately need it, you can use the Sigh of Relief any time you feel the need to relax (there’s a reason it’s called taking a breather). It can be done anywhere, anytime with no side effects.

In scientific circles, the Sigh of Relief is called the Physiological Sigh because it has a direct benefit on our physiology (the functioning of our body). To do a proper Physiological Sigh, you take two inhales (a longer one then a shorter one), followed by a long exhale. Trust me, you know how to do this, you do it all the time.

Something as easy as taking an exaggerated breath can help your body to destress and rebalance. If you want to help accentuate this natural stress reliever, focus on opening up and expanding as you breathe in and relaxing and letting go as you breathe out. The more mindful you are of your breath, the more benefits there are for your body (and don’t scrimp on the exhale either!)

We already breathe over twenty thousand times each day, it just makes sense to do little tweaks to help our breath work for us.

Our breath affects every single function in our bodies, this means we have a huge amount of power to help ourselves by tapping into how we breathe.

The Sigh of Relief is simple and effective. Even if you do it 200 times a day (that’s only 1% of your breaths), you can’t overdo it. 

If you’re feeling stressed, but don’t feel like you can do a sigh of relief (maybe because your boss is standing right in front of you, blathering away), you can also help your body to relax by focusing on your exhale and making it longer and more pronounced than your inhale.

When your inhales are longer than your exhales, this tells your body to speed up your heart rate which then starts a stress response in your body. Slowing down your exhales gives your body the message that you are safe and your systems will respond accordingly.

So, go ahead and breathe a sigh of relief, your body will thank you for it.

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