These behaviors are not just dramatic postures for star-crossed lovers anymore! Yes, it’s true, this study from Scientific American details how vision and breathing, including <sighs>, work together to reduce feelings of stress or panic. During COVID many of us have increased screen time because of online meetings. The up close portrait view is similar to the way our vision narrows when we are reacting to stress or an emergency. On the other hand, a panoramic view, allows us to open up our field of vision and is connected to a state of calm. Based on this research, I imagine that taking your eyes away from the screen and letting your gaze rest on the horizon, or the big view, may reduce stress and send safety signals to the body.
Sighs are another way the body calms itself. The typical sigh is a long exhale. The long exhale slows our heart rate and serves as another safety signal between the brain and body. Often sighs will happen naturally when we are decompressing after a stressful day. You may find that it helps to simply pay attention to your in-breath and out-breath, letting your exhale be a little longer. Breathing in to a count of three and breathing out to a count of four or five. Be sure to check with your doctor or healthcare provider before doing any new breathing techniques if you have a medical condition.
So, go ahead and put on your best fairytale princexx gear and have a good long sigh while gazing out from your balcony. Or, just look out the window…you choose!
More details about the connection between vision, breathing and surviving the pandemic below: