Keep Talking…I Yawn When I’m Interested

Ever had that awkward moment when you yawn while listening to someone? Try being a therapist. It can make for really awkward moments.

Have you ever yawned and watched others yawn back?

In high school, a friend and I used to walk in front of our geometry class and yawn loudly, while the other counted how many people yawned in response. The person with the most yawns won. Good times.

It does this because the brain is social, so it mimics the yawning of others. There are many reasons we yawn and they all benefit the brain and your emotional wellness!

Newberg and Waldman (www.psychologytoday.com/experts/andrew-newberg-md-and-mark-waldman ) describe yawning as “one of the best-kept secrets in neuroscience” for both relaxation and heightened cognitive awareness.  It helps you stay focused, more introspective, and self-aware.

Still not convinced?

  • Studies have shown that students who practiced deliberate yawning for four minutes before taking tests raised their grade point averages!  C’s moved up to B’s, and B’s to A’s.
  • These studies also indicate that yawning significantly reduces the anxiety experienced by those who suffer from anxiety disorders.
  • Yawning regulates the temperature of the brain via a cooling process.
  • Yawning stimulates alertness, increases memory recall, lowers stress, relaxes the body, and increases empathy and social awareness.
  • Yawning regulates the temperature of the brain via a cooling process.
  • Yawning stimulates alertness, increases memory recall, lowers stress, relaxes the body, and increases empathy and social awareness.
  • Many positive effects come from neurotransmitters involved with yawning, such as acetylcholine, glutamate, GABA, and serotonin.
  • Conscious yawning can stimulate natural yawning.

So go out there and yawn! Maybe you and a friend can start a contest. If you do, be sure to pretend you’re throwing away a piece of trash at the front of the room and use exaggerated stretching motions. Works every time.

PS- I’ve yawn ten times while typing this blog. I bet you have, too. If not, go look at a bunch of pictures of people yawning. I dare you.

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