You probably know that yawning is contagious among chimpanzees, dogs, humans, and even possibly fish. Did you yawn just seeing the photo, below?
We think of yawning as a bit rude (am I boring you?) and as a sign of exhaustion. But the primary purpose of yawning is actually to cool off our brains, and when contagious, researchers believe it is a sign of empathetic tendencies and social awareness.
And the benefits of yawning go well beyond that! According to neuroscientist Andrew Newberg, yawning can improve your memory, stimulate alertness and concentration, and lower your stress. The catch: we need to yawn several times in order to really reap the benefits.
Take Action: The next time you need to help your mind focus, start yawning. The first few yawns might feel fake, but keep at it. Try watching this collection of people yawning to “catch” the desire to yawn, or learn more about the science behind yawning in the video below: