We all know what yawning means, right? The act of yawning is typically interpreted as a sign of tiredness, however, many people may not realize that a person’s yawning could actually mean he or she is anxious.
Yawning is one of the less heard of symptoms of anxiety, but nevertheless, it is very common. Anxiety has the power to create a whole host of unusual symptoms in the body. When you really think about it, yawning as a symptom of anxiety really makes sense. Anxiety, and specifically panic attacks, change our breathing patterns significantly and alter the way our body takes in oxygen. Hyperventilating is quite common during anxiety attacks. Unfortunately, the process of yawning can even lead to more anxiety!
Imagine this scenario: it’s time to stand up in front of the classroom and give that ten-minute speech you’ve been dreading for the past week. You begin to breathe more rapidly, and brain is starting to receive the message that you aren’t receiving enough oxygen for your body to function properly. Your brain isn’t wrong, as with every breath you are expelling a large amount of carbon dioxide, and not breathing in enough oxygen to compensate for it. Your “fight or flight response begins to kick in, and your adrenal glands start pumping adrenaline throughout your body. To obtain the oxygen you need, you start to yawn involuntarily. However, this action can be counterproductive because the large breaths you are taking are no giving your body too much oxygen! It’s so hard to find the correct balance when your body is suffering under the effects of anxiety. For many people, frequent yawning and inadequate breathing become a way of life that hinders them in a myriad of different ways. Fortunately, anxiety doesn’t have to dictate how you breathe anymore than it has to dictate any other areas of your life.
The solution to yawning is to address the breathing irregularities, and you can do this by training your body to breathe in the proper and natural manner. Medical experts agree that deep breathing is very beneficial to anxiety sufferers. To embark on the practice of deep breathing, begin by inhaling and counting slowly to five. Then, hold the breath for five full seconds. Afterward, you can slowly release your breath. Repeat this until you begin to feel waves of relaxation engulf your body. Don’t fret if it takes awhile to catch on to this, like many other things in life, the more practice you put into it, the greater the results. In addition, you can also begin a regular practice of yoga and meditation, which can also aid you in your breathing and train your body to relax at will. To further address your anxiety, you should also consider looking into cognitive-behavioral therapy. This type of therapy focuses on challenging negative and worrisome thought patterns that too often dominate our thinking. By employing these techniques, you’ll soon discover that those anxiety-ridden yawns will soon cease.