Homework, friends, health problems, family, finances, romantic relationships, and on, and on, and on. It seems like the list of things can cause stress in our lives is never ending.
If you've ever felt the weight of stress in your life and sought help, people might have suggested to take some time off, spend time doing something you love, or go on a trip. While these suggestions are well-intended, they're not necessarily helpful in immediately alleviating stress.
Today I want to introduce you to a "stress hack" I learned from Dr. Andrew Huberman, a neuroscientist and ophthalmologist at Stanford University, that will help immediately reduce your stress levels by lowering the levels of carbon dioxide in your bloodstream.
The "stress hack" that I'm referring to is called the "physiological sigh."
If you'd like to learn the specifics, feel free to check out Dr. Huberman's episode on the "physiological sigh." If you just want to use it and don't care how it works, keep reading.
The "physiological sigh" is our bodies natural reaction to certain situations. We do it right before we go to sleep, after a hard cry, or when we feel claustrophobic. As I stated, it is a rapid and immediate way to lower the levels of carbon dioxide in our bloodstream, which inherently reduces our stress levels. It is also something we can voluntarily call upon at any moment, not just after a good cry.
Let's try it together right now. Take two inhales through your nose, and follow it with a long exhale out of your mouth. Double inhale, long exhale. Repeat. That is the "physiological sigh."
The next time you're feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or just want to breathe, try this stress hack.
Teach one friend who stresses you out about the "physiological sigh."
When in the last week would this tool have been helpful to you?
"Stress is foundational. Learn to control it." - Andrew Huberman