The marvellous positive power of yawning

The marvellous positive power of yawning
Yes yawning can be good for you – picture via

By Shane Dean, Founder of Good News Tonic

Let's face it, these days most of us are operating in constant fight-or-flight mode.

With the 24/7 onslaught of troubling news from social media and the lingering effects of the pandemic, our bodies' parasympathetic nervous systems are often stuck on high alert.

But there's good news!

We all have access to a simple, drug-free technique to help shift from frantic fight-or-flight into relaxing "rest and digest" mode: the humble yawn.

Yes, it's true – a simple yawn can make our bodies calmer alongside many other techniques Including meditation, laughing, singing and deep breathing.

Yawning is good for you – picture via

There's tons of science on this if you want to learn more:

But a yawn certainly helps in relaxing the nervous system.

From an evolutionary perspective, yawning may be the brain's way of manually rebooting itself after long periods of strain when mental resources are depleted.

Physiologically, yawning increases oxygen intake and heart rate to aid alertness while also cooling the brain, according to some studies.

Interestingly, yawning is also highly contagious. We unconsciously mirror the yawns of others through hardwired primitive mechanisms dating back to our earliest mammalian ancestors. This "yawn reflex" is believed to promote empathy and social bonding.

But the real superpowers of yawning lie in its ability to activate the parasympathetic nervous system and all the "rest and digest" functions it controls, like slowing heart rate and regulating digestion. In other words, yawning is a physiological cue that tells our bodies: relax, you're safe.

Emma McAdam on her brilliant Therapy in a Nutshell podcast advocates yawning alongside a variety of measures to calm the parasympathetic nervous system. 

You can find her incredible anti-anxiety course and more tips here: How to Turn on How to Turn on The Parasympathetic Response to Calm Anxiety - 22/30 

If you are struggling with your mental health and anxiety is chronic, please consult a GP or medical practitioner.

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