Pillar 1 - Presence & Mindfulness

Your Body’s Fast-Track to Relaxation: Two-Seconds Hack to Get You From Fight-or-Flight to Calm & Focused

Do you ever wish you had a button that could switch you from a stressful moment right into a state of calm, in just a couple of seconds?

Well, guess what? You do. 

And it’s not about hard-core work with your thoughts or emotions, not at all. Instead, it is hardwired into your biology

It’s as simple as taking a breath – but a bit specific kind of breath!

One that can instantly shift your body from stress to relaxation mode.

The physiological sigh—a powerful technique to tap into your body’s natural ability to shift into relaxation.

Why is the physiological sigh such a game-changer?

Let’s have a peek into the science behind it:

❁ Fast-Track to Relaxation: 

The physiological sigh is like flipping a switch in your nervous system, rapidly shifting you from the sympathetic (“fight or flight”) to the parasympathetic (“rest and digest”) state. 

This quick transition allows your body to relax, recharge, and recover from stress more efficiently.


❁ Strengthened Resilience: 

By teaching your body to shift from stress to relaxation faster (or, from sympathetic to parasympathetic system), you’re essentially training your stress response system to become more resilient. Over time, this can help you bounce back from stressful situations with greater ease and grace.


Enhanced Performance: 

It’s not just about stress management—the physiological sigh can also be a game-changer in sports and fitness. 

Using this technique between intense reps or during breaks in training can help you recover faster and perform at your best.

It is the fastest switch that we know from the research. 

(That’s not to say there are no other valuable switches – that is just to say not all of them are confirmed by research just yet 🤓). 


Physiological Sigh - How to Put it in Practice

lIt’s super simple – even though a bit unusual:


Step 1

🫁 Take a deep breath in through your nose, filling your lungs to capacity.


Step 2

🫁 Hold your breath for a very brief moment, allowing your body to fully oxygenate.


Step 3:

🫁 Breathe in just a little bit more, yes, without exhaling before that and with your lungs still pretty 



Step 4

🫁 Exhale slowly and audibly through your mouth, releasing tension and stress with that breath.


Even one breath will switch you to a calmer state instantly. 


But for dramatic situations or to strengthen that place of calm, repeat this process a couple times, for up to a minute or two.


Moment to Reflect

✴ When do you typically experience moments of stress or tension throughout your day?


✴ Are there specific situations or activities where you could benefit from using it? How can you ensure to remember doing it? 


✴ How regularly would you want to practice it, so it’s more “on your mind” in stressful moments? How could you incorporate it in your routine?


Whether you’re navigating the challenges of daily life or pushing your limits in pursuit of your goals, the physiological sigh is a powerful tool to have in your arsenal


Try it now, c’mon, one more time.


Such a simple yet transformative technique.


Enjoyed exploring this tool? Join me at Happiness Academy newsletter and discover new practical tools and ideas from positive psychology every Thursday!

Looking to learn more ways to leverage your breath as a tool for more calm, serenity, relaxation, clarity right now?

In the meantime, start learning by exploring this and 4 other quick yet effective breathing exercises in the podcast episode Breath as a Tool: 5 Short but Powerful Exercises for More Focus, Calm and Energy:

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