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Cyclic Sighing for Stress Reduction

Updated: Apr 16

cyclic sighing breathwork stress reduction

Cyclic sighing is a simple breathing technique that can be used to quickly reduce stress. Similar to box breathing it can be practiced anywhere and at any time. Cyclic sighing has been shown to have greater effect at reducing stress and improving mood than (the also effective) box breathing.

What to Do

Step 1: Inhale slowly, through the nose. Once your lungs were expanded, to inhale again once more to maximally fill your lungs–even if the second inhale is shorter in duration and smaller in volume than the first

Step 2: Slowly and fully exhale all your breath, using your mouth

Step 3: Repeat this pattern of breathing for 5 minutes. If you prefer, you can use your nose for all steps.


Controlling one’s breath has a powerful effect on the body. We can positively affect the autonomic nervous system, essentially the unconscious operating system that controls our responses. Lowering stress allows for clearer thinking, it allows the body and mind to relax. It assists with decision making at critical times and, over longer time periods, a healthier you.

As with any technique, cyclic sighing improves with practice. Try a daily session to get the feel of it. First thing in the morning, on public transport, during a quiet moment, at home at night. Then, when a time of stress arrives as it surely will, you can use the technique to your advantage.

Stay Healthy,


stress mindful relaxation breath work

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Related Studies

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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