Can you relax in 30 seconds?

Let’s explore the simple act of sighing. It takes such a little bit of time. And we all know how to sigh. In this short post, I’ll also give you a formula to put a 30 second relaxation break into your day.

You sigh, and what happens? 

With a sigh you release your breath in an especially deep way. Relaxation follows. Your body relaxes. Your mind relaxes, too.

How long does it take to sigh? One leisurely sigh takes approximately 8 seconds. I timed mine! Three sighs can easily be taken in 24 seconds leaving 6 seconds for a yawn or two! I’m not suggesting you time your sighs. I do encourage sighing. It allows for lots of relaxing and releasing in, what seems like, no time at all.

I invite my clients to sigh soon after they have settled on my massage table. They take in a little extra oxygen and then relax as they release into a sigh. At the same time they generally shift their focus from their thoughts to the sensations of their breath and how the sigh feels in their body. 

We clear our cache in our web browsers. Likewise we clear some of our stress and tension cache with a sigh. I suppose this is commonly called a sigh of relief. The sigh I like to call forth is rather generic. It could be a sigh of anything or everything. There’s no need for words in releasing held energy!

You might want to experiment with a little practice of sighing for relaxation. Read on for the instructions.

Practice 30 seconds of leisurely relaxation. 

Here’s the formula, I promised. The steps outlined below may seem like a big to-do about a tiny relaxation practice! There’s a method to my madness. First, truly effective changes come moment to moment. Secondly, the steps I outline can be used to initiate other solid habits supporting deeper and more renewing sleep patterns. Think of this as an introduction. More can be built on this as we work together.

This formula has 7 steps. Each step is important. I won’t go into the why of it, here. The purpose now is to give you the basic tools to practice this “sighing on purpose” regularly. It’s a good tool for your relaxation tool bag. After you’ve practiced this for a week or two, I suggest you decide if you want to continue the practice. Maybe you’ll want to add another breathing or relaxing practice to this one. Alternately you may want to “change it up” in some way.


Step 1    Imagine Sighing

Picture yourself sighing and sighing again. Then picture one more sigh. Imagine how good sighing feels as you inhale and exhale with a release of sound. 

Step 2    Connect To Your Positive Intent

Bring to mind the benefits of feeling relaxed. How might that change your life even in tiny ways? Consider what being more relaxed could do for those around you. Is there a way being more relaxed might assist you with your purpose in the greater world?

Step 3    The Exercise Of 3 Sighs (And Perhaps A Full Sized Yawn)

Breathe an easy fairly large in breath. Exhale through your mouth as you make a sound. Any sound that comes with your exhale will be good. Repeat again, as you are ready two more times. A yawn may come. Let the yawns happen fully. Too many people have a habit of stifling their yawns. Please let your body have the entire yawn. Yawning is also relaxing.

Note how you feel now as compared to how you felt about 30 seconds ago before the sighing. People generally report feeling lighter, more relaxed or having a clear head for thinking. Pretty great for a 30 second investment of time!

Step 4     Planning So The Three Sighs Will Happen:

Where: Bathroom, out of doors, bedroom, kitchen 

When: Tag it on to something you already do (this is called an anchor). Look for something that is already a stable habit. Here are some activities to tag on the 3 sighs:

After you brush your teeth 

After you get dressed in the morning

After you sit on the bed at the end of the day

After you finish eating lunch

After you open or close the curtains 

How long: Practice for 5 days reworking as needed. Repeat. Then see step 7 for reviewing and reworking section for moving forward. 

Step 5    Celebrate

Celebrate. Celebrate. Dance to the music! I can’t help but hear the old song, Celebrate, by the Three Dog Night. Right after you complete your three sighs say; I’m awesome. Say it with a great enthusiasm!  A happy dance or throwing your arms up and declaring victory would do well as ways to celebrate your tiny successful step.

Step 6    Keep Track Of Your Progress

Make note everyday. Did you sigh after ______________? (Your particular anchor behavior goes in the blank.) You might want to have an accountability buddy. Perhaps send an email to a friend reporting your success or lack of success. Recording a Yes or No in your journal or on your calendar each day is another way to monitor your success.

Step 7    Review and Rework

Look at your success or lack of success. Maybe it all worked for you. More likely you had some challenges. You might not have sighed 3 times after the anchor behavior you chose. Let’s say your anchor behavior was sitting on your bed before getting into bed. If that didn’t work or feel like the right time, pick a different anchor behavior. Try again with this change in your routine. No need to wait 5 whole days to improve your formula. Make changes as needed.

Review all the steps. Are you doing all of the steps?

Use this process even after you have the sighing firmly in place as a stable habit, if you want to increase the relaxation activities you practice daily. Consider adding another short activity to this habit, if it suits your intent. As a for instance, you might want to add 1 or 2 stretches following the 3 sighs. 

Summing Up

This is just one of many possible small habits for contributing to your ease in relaxing. It’s important to relax often through out your day and at the end of your day! Relaxing leads to resting, when rest is needed. And resting leads to sleep when sleep is needed. This is one way relaxing is important in relationship to sleep. Sighing provides a short-cut for down shifting from busy to more relaxed. It’s as close as your next breath.


2 Responses to “Can you relax in 30 seconds?

  • Sighing is my fav, seriously! I make my students take 2 big breaths or sighs before each test they take in my classroom.

  • You are one smart teacher! How great for your students to be getting this practice with sighing.

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