Cyclic sighing

Controlled breathwork practices that focus on different inhalation/exhalation ratios are a well-established way to reduce stress.

Mindfulness meditation practices are also widely used by people who want to lower stress levels and keep their anxiety in check.

Longer exhalations calm the autonomic nervous system, reduce physiological arousal, lower stress, and take the edge off anxiety.

Brief structured respiration practices enhance mood and reduce physiological arousal.

The psychophysiological benefits of a controlled breathing exercise emphasizes a 1:2 inhalation/exhalation ratio (4-second inhalation: 8-second exhalation). 

People who practice”cyclic sighing” breathwork marked by a 1:2 inhale/exhale ratio for 5 minutes per day for four weeks experience reduced physiological arousal, less perceived stress, and enhanced mood. 

Longer exhalations stimulate the vagus nerve in ways that reduce fight-or-flight stress responses on a physiological level.

Different breathing techniques modulate vagal function and kickstart the parasympathetic nervous system’s relaxation response

Heart rate variability (HRV) is commonly used to gauge vagus nerve activity and index vagal tone. 

The effect of deliberate breathing practices on brain function is, at least in part, mediated by vagus nerve pathways.

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