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What's in a sigh?


A sigh is only a sigh……

Except when it isn’t!

What unsaid , unexpressed things are in a sigh?

What is in a sigh?


We sigh spontaneously many times an hour, taking a deeper breath to inflate the millions of air sacs in our lungs and then exhaling deeply. Sighing has been called a resetter of our systems, as the long audible exhalation that is the hallmark of a sigh has been shown to directly impact not only our physiology but also our thoughts. In addition to our spontaneous sighs working in the background to bring moments of regulation, we can use intentional sighing as a way to interrupt our state and find a momentary reset and also to deepen an experience of regulation and connection.


There are some basic ways we sigh. We sigh with frustration to release some energy, and we sigh when we feel down or depressed in an attempt to bring in some energy. We sigh in relief as we find our way back to regulation and then breathe a sigh of contentment to savour the experience of being safely anchored there.


Explore each way of sighing and feel your response.


Start with a sigh of despair. Feel the beginning pull of collapse and the draining of energy that comes with that. Turn your next exhalation into a deep sigh and see what happens as you interrupt the breath pattern.


Next let in some of the energy of fight and fight that comes from your sympathetic nervous system.


Feel a bit of dysregulation and breathe a sigh of frustration.

Let your sigh release some of that mobilizing energy. Notice the thoughts that come along with that sigh and see how your state shifts. Now feel a bit of dysregulation and find your way back to regulation. Breathe a sigh of relief and notice the thoughts that come and accompany that experience.

And as you are held in that place of connection, breathe a sigh of contentment.


Let your breath tell the story of ease, of equanimity, of feeling nourished and filled. Listen to the story, take it in, and savour it.


(taken from Anchored, Deb Dana)


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