Calm relaxed Indian lady practicing breath work at home office

Mental and Behavioral Well-Being

Journal Abstracts
Feb 15, 2023

Mental and Behavioral Well-Being

Sighing for a Mood Boost?

Journal Abstracts
Mar 03, 2024

A new study published in Cell Reports Medicine has found that breathwork may be more effective than mindfulness meditation for stress reduction and a mood boost.

The randomized controlled study compared three different types of breathwork exercises to an equal amount of meditation over the course of one month in 108 healthy adults, mostly from an undergraduate class at Stanford University. The researchers found that just five minutes a day of daily breathwork, especially cyclic sighing, was associated with a greater improvement in mood as well as reduced arousal (measured in respiratory rate, heart rate, and heart rate variability) than mindfulness meditation.

The types of breathing included:

  • Cyclic hyperventilation: A strong inhalation followed by a short hold, and a quick exhalation.
  • Cyclic sighing: Shorter inhalations and longer exhalations.
  • Box breathing: Slow, deep inhalation, breath retention, and exhalation for equal amounts of time.

All the groups showed a significant daily improvement in mood, as well as less anxiety, but there were significant differences between mindfulness meditation and breathwork.

Intentionally controlling the breath with structured breathwork is a free, easy to use technique that benefits mood and stress levels.


Balban, M., et al (2023, January 10). Brief structured respiration practices enhance mood and reduce physiological arousal. Cell Reports Medicine.


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