7 Other Involuntary Reflexes To Bless Other Than Sneezing

In English we say “bless you” or those who want to take it a step further they say “God bless you.” In German they say “Gesundheit” which simply means “health!’ In Croatia they say “Na zdravlje” which means “to your health” and that’s the exact same thing they say in Italian (Salute), Latvian (Uz veselību), Luthuanian (Į sveikatą {pronounced ‘EE sweh kata’}) and Norwegian (Prosit); and they are joined by many other languages who also acknowledge your sneeze with a wish for your good health.

Ever wondered why we say “bless you” when someone sneezes? Back in 590 AD, as the outbreak of the bubonic plague hit Rome, the Pope of the day, Gregory I decided that saying “God bless you” when someone sneezed would ward off the disease. It’s highly dubious, and I would hazard a guess that if someone was to have sneezed back then and still lived, the correlation between wishing them good health through this “mini prayer” and them surviving the plague is spurious reasoning at best.

I’ve always loved Milhouse’s reason as to why we say “God bless you” as he explained to Bart Simpson…

And in case you can’t watch the video…

Milhouse: It’s kinda in here and when you sneeze, that’s your soul trying to escape. Saying “God bless you” crams it back in and when you die it squirms out and flies away.

And seeing that we’re not back in 590 AD any more and we know that simply wishing someone good health when they get infectious diseases is paramount to pissing in the wind, why do we still do it? Good question. (Ed. Thanks) I would suggest that just like the act of sneezing itself, saying “bless you” is a reflex action. I was brought up in a household where good manners were encouraged. Not always used, but definitely encouraged.

And even though as I have stated previously, I am a cynical, sceptical, Atheist who doesn’t believe in woo, or hoodoo or “the power of prayer,” for some reason, when someone sneezes, I still say it. It’s drilled into me.

Now this got me thinking; what if I could stop it. What if we all stopped it. What if we didn’t pass this pointless practice onto our kids. No one would start it up again. No one would suddenly say “we really need to acknowledge that reflex action from that person’s nose.” We just wouldn’t. It would be just like all the other involuntary reflex actions that we currently aren’t acknowledging.

So seeing it’s really a pointless exercise blessing someone for sneezing, I think if we’re going to preserve this just because it’s good manners, why shouldn’t we acknowledge ALL of the involuntary reflexes actions that the orifices in our body produce? I mean, everyone’s talking about how there is a decline in good manners these days, so why not strengthen them by introducing an onslaught of new manners?

Here’s my thoughts, go with me…

1. Yawning

Next time you see someone yawn, simply say “happy sleeping.”


2. Crying

Some might argue that kids can turn on the tears when they want something so it’s not an involuntary reflex action, but I dare you to watch these YouTube videos in my post called 5 YouTube Videos That Will Make You Cry and tell me it’s not involuntary.

So next time you see someone crying, simply say “to dry eyes.”

DCF 1.0

3. Burping (Belching, Ructus, or Eructation)

Again, there are plenty of people who make themselves burp just to get laughs, but for most people it happens without trying when drinking fizzy drinks.

So next time you hear someone burp, simply say “to a healthy digestive tract.”

Burping Burp

4. Snoring

Next time you hear someone snore, simply say “to an unobstructed airway.”

Another way to acknowledge this is to do what they did in the dark ages which is to take a pillow and hold it against…

Hang on, I need to research that a little further…


5. Coughing

Now this is a little tricky because there’s a few things we could say hear such as “to clearer lungs” or “to a clearer chest,” but really, when you think about it, coughs are caused by many of the symptoms that promote sneezes, and I’m pretty sure that old Pope Gregory I would hope that those who were sneezing up a storm were also not going to spread the plague through their coughs, so let’s use “bless you” and “God bless you” for that reflex action too.


6.  Vomiting (formally: Emesis and informally: Throwing Up)

It’s often induced by excessive drinking (of alcohol) and over-eating so again it could be argued that the involuntary action starts with a voluntary action, but when it happens naturally through illness or by witnessing something vile, or changing a baby’s nappy when they’ve done something that smells like a dead rat, it’s definitely involuntary.

When you see someone vomit, simply say “Gesundheit.” Yes, use the German expression I mentioned earlier and one that many English people are familiar with using. Why? Well chances are, the person who has thrown up might have had a few German beers, Schnapps, Apfelwein, or Jägermeister. And when in Rome Berlin…


7. Farting (Flatulence or Breaking Wind)

Again I’m going to give you two choices of things to say to the person who has “produced wind.”

If you HEAR someone fart, simply say “here’s to a good bowel movement.”

If you SMELL someone’s fart, simply say “see you later…”


And if you want to help me encourage these good manners, don’t forget to hit the Facebook like button and share it with your family and friends. You know it’s the right thing to do. “God bless you…”

Have I missed out on any other involuntary reflexes that could be added to this list? Alternatively, can you add a better phrase to say to the person experiencing these involuntary reflexes?

One thought on “7 Other Involuntary Reflexes To Bless Other Than Sneezing

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