Thursday, April 26, 2012

12 Essential Reasons to Yawn

Two Ironing Women, Edgar Degas

The yawn is a reflex of deep inhalation and exhalation.The act of yawning and mental alertness seem to occupy opposite ends of a spectrum, but they are more closely related than I ever imagined. Rather than merely being an indicator of boredom and fatigue, I came to see some beneficial products our yawning offers.  Sharing  a thought here I learned at Duke while I was staying with Cindy in January...

A book I want to read further, How God Changes Your Brain by Newberg and Waldman, presents research that underpins their conviction that yawning:

1. Stimulates alertness and concentration
2. Optimizes brain activity and metabolism
3. Improves cognitive function
4. Increases memory recall
5. Enhances consciousness and introspection
6. Lowers stress
7. Relaxes every part of your body
8. Improves voluntary muscle control
9. Enhances athletic skills
10. Fine-tunes your sense of time
11. Increases empathy and social awareness
12. Enhances pleasure and sensitivity

(p. 158, 159)

Just a thought for the day when we are tempted to stifle a yawn. Let it rip, instead. Yawn deeply and often! Yawn for good health and alertness! We can do it anywhere, anytime. What a little gift we may never have appreciated.

Come unto me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Matthew 11:28

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