Saying "Health" or "Jesus" after someone sneezes seems like a reaction. Why do we feel obliged to say this to anyone who has sneezed, even if the person is stranger or sneezing in the distance?
"This is a common chorus, so common and learned since childhood, that many people do not even consider it a blessing, but rather an expression without a definite meaning; it's just an answer to sneezing, which is somehow polite "said Gail Saltz, professor of psychiatry at the Weill School of Medicine at Cornell University.
"If you repeat it enough times, especially with positive reinforcement – a person who sneezes says" thank you "- it becomes more and more reflex, it starts without conscious thought"Saltz added. "At present, people are not sure why they say it, but they are afraid that if they do not, people will believe that they are rude or do not care about the person who sneezed."He pointed.
Dara Avenius, a New York publicist, is one of the people who find it rude that when she sneezes, someone will continue talking as if she wasn't just sneezing.
How and where did these social behaviors come from?
According to W. David Myers, a professor of history at Fordham University, from a historical point of view, sneezing was considered a preview of the gods. "For European Christians, when the first plague struck, which weakened the Roman Empire at that time, around 590, Pope Gregory the Great believed that sneezing was the first warning sign of the plague, so he entrusted Christians with a blessing before sneezing. " mentioned.
In ancient times, people thought that sneezing allowed evil spirits to get into the body, and said "Jesus" to push them away.
"Certainly this is another belief" Myers pointed. "But other responses to sneezing -" gesundheit "in German; "Health" in some variants of the Spanish language – comes from the idea that sneezing is a sign of divine goodness, " specific.
Of all the random things you can associate with God, why sneeze?
According to Omar Sultan Haque & # 39; a psychiatrist and sociologist at Harvard Medical School, although sneezing seems to be accidental, Attributing a divine blessing can work to clarify things when there is no common explanation.
Recently, Kaley Komański, a social media manager from Orlando, learned to say "gesundheit" instead of "Jesus" when people sneeze. "It took me a few weeks to make it an automatic response and to feel natural" he commented. "I think it is very uncomfortable to hear" Jesus "all the time. It is worth mentioning that I am an atheist, which is why I motivated me to edit selected words when people sneeze, " numbered
"I think some atheists are bothered by the use of the word" Jesus. " It is likely that atheists prefer 'gesundheit' or other equivalent, which simply means' good health ', a principle that believers and non-believers can believe in' Haque mentioned.
"Saying" health "also reduces religious implications or revelations about your beliefs," said Frank Farley, professor of psychology at Temple University.
Sharon Schweitzer, who wrote about label issues, says that even today many people still believe that the saying "Jesus" or "health" is an indicator of social status, social elegance and kindness, whether you know the origin or not . historical. "Our parents taught us to say that; that's why we feel obliged to say it, even if it's 2019. " He said.
Farley gives many reasons why so many of us feel obliged to give blessings after someone sneezes.
This is a conditioned answer. People often say "thank you" when we say "health" when you sneeze. "Thank you" serves as a reward or support.
It is contagious. Maybe we are imitating other people who offer a blessing; We model their behavior. This can begin at an early age, when we see and hear that adults around us do so. Sometimes you hear a few people say "health" near the sneeze, this is a type of social infection.
Mikroefekty Saying "Jesus" or "health" can result in an extremely short happy connection. and in passing with a person who sneezes, a phenomenon Farley calls "micro-effects", an antidote to "microaggression" that we hear about so much.
Compliance Many of us comply with the standard. Saying "health" in response to a sneeze is part of the decorum that underlies many of our habits.
Monica Eaton-Cardone, owner and business director of a cyber security company that travels around the world because of her business, said she felt obliged to say "health" when someone is sick and sneezing because she is fast and It's easy to let you know that you care about your well-being. "There is something very democratically universal in our health", he mentioned and argued: "For me, an expression is another way to make contact."
Many people still think that the saying "Jesus" or "health" is an indicator of social status, social elegance and kindness.