Do you sigh a lot? Here’s what science says it could mean

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According to science, an average human being takes 12 spontaneous sighs in one hour. (Source: Getty/Thinkstock)

Sighing, just like breathing, happens involuntarily. Except the duration of it is slightly longer than a regular breath. You inhale and then some more and then exhale it all at once. Sighing is often associated with relief, sadness and anxiety. It is considered to be a body language and read accordingly. Sighing has the power to gauge a person's mood. In a way, it is tell-tale. But, what does it mean when a person sighs a lot? Here is what science says; read on.

According to science, an average human being takes 12 spontaneous sighs in one hour. That means one sigh in about five minutes. Perhaps you are sighing right now, as you read this. Sighing a lot — more than this — can signal some kind of brain activity that can suggest you are reacting to something. It can also indicate an underlying respiratory problem.

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The causes

Here are some possible causes of why you may be sighing a lot:

* You are stressed, both physically and psychologically. When it is a reaction to a psychological reason, the sighing may be accompanied by physical factors like quickened heartbeat, panting, sweating and digestive issues.

* You are anxious. According to Current Biology, anxiety disorders — like panic, PTSD and phobia — can cause excessive sighing.

* It could also be because you are suffering from depression. According to science, in addition to feeling stressed and anxious, we produce sighs to indicate other negative emotions like acute sadness and despair, thus signalling depression.

* Respiratory conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can cause increased sighing, along with other symptoms like hyperventilation and breathlessness.

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Check with your doctor

Excessive sighing can be your body's way of crying out for help. Consult with your doctor when you experience shortness of breath, are stressed beyond control, letting anxiety take the front seat in your life, suffering from depression that is crippling you mentally and affecting your life.