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Peggy Barnhardt: Why do we sigh?

Peggy Barnhardt

When we get older, gravity takes its toll, not just on the body, resulting in displacement of curvatures, muscle tone and mammary organs, but on hand-held objects that inconveniently slip from wear-worn fingers to the floor, making for frustrating sighs of annoyance.

Sighs of relief come when the daily aches and pains accompanied by moans and wonderment as to their origin subsides and dissipates.

Getting out of bed can be tiresome; a sigh of pause may follow.

Is there some medicinal value attached? Is there some emotional helix, spiraling in us that informs our brains to sigh, and we instantly feel better?

Is it age related? It seems that young people rarely sigh. Maybe they are busy causing their parents to do so. Ha.

Is the act inborn? We don’t have to practice, they come automatically, circumstantially and sometimes inappropriately, expressing perhaps a true feeling that we might otherwise wish to conceal, such as boredom or defeat.

A sigh can validate self-satisfaction or empathy, according to its tone.

Well as it turns out, scientific findings have concluded that sighing is good for us — it keeps our alveoli in the lung inflated — and it is not age-specific: we all do it regularly every hour, some more quietly than others; the inaudible go mostly unnoticed.

One’s last breath may come in the form of a sigh, bidding farewell to life and love.

Whatever the case, it’s a gift providing comfort to the weary soul, release of carbon dioxide, expression without a word, intangibly captured in an audible exhale.

Think about it.

Peggy Ann Barnhardt lives in Salisbury.

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