How Brief Breath Practice Can Enhance Mood

New Stanford Study Released

On behalf of the GWI Breathe Initiative, we’re posting up-to-the-minute studies and articles to share the power of Breath for overall well-being at the moment as well as the long-term benefits of accessible practices like this. Here’s a just-released study from Stanford’s Dr. Andrew Huberman and Dr. David Spiegel on the power of a specific short-breath practice called cyclical sighing.

Here’s the study. Also, here’s a short video showing the practice.

“Brief structured respiration practices enhance mood and reduce physiological arousal. Daily 5-minute breathwork and mindfulness meditation improve mood and reduce anxiety. Breathwork improves mood and physiological arousal more than mindfulness meditation. Cyclic sighing is most effective at improving mood and reducing respiratory rate.”

“[Exhalation] seems to trigger self-soothing reactions from the parasympathetic nervous system,” explains David Spiegel, MD, associate chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and co-author of the study. “After just five minutes a day, people not only felt happier, but they were physiologically more relaxed.”

We can’t control too many things in our lives but one thing we can mindfully control is our breath. This is a simple example of a protocol that works anywhere, any time to calm your nervous system. There are countless practical applications to easily integrate this quick and easy into your daily life–no need to wait for a crisis.