Your dentist tells you to do it, your parents probably told you to do it, and now it may be part of your morning ablutions. What on earth am I going on about??? I am talking about gargling. Gargling is something we’ve all done for some reason or another. But, did you know that gargling can calm you down when you are having a moment of anxiety or uncalm? Well, it can, and this is because the act of gargling stimulates your vagus nerves. The vagus nerves are a main component of your parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for rest and digestion,and mood, to name a few. You’ve surely heard of the fight or flight phase, right? Well, when you go into fight or flight mode, that is your sympathetic nervous system kicking in.
The parasympathetic nervous system works in the opposite manner of the sympathetic nervous system. Your vagus nerves are fast at work to bring you back from the fight or flight mode, or after a meal, or a long tiring day at work. The vagus nerves are two very long nerves, on the left and right side of your body, that travel from your brain stem to your intestines. When this nerve is stimulated, it can create a feeling of calm and relaxation. Because it passes through your body and makes contact with your neck, throat, heart, lungs, and abdomen,when you gargle, this vibration is felt in your brain and down through all of the other body parts touched by the vagus nerve. So as a therapeutic activity, gargling can be very calming, and in states of anxiety and anger, it can bring you back to a state of calm. So, not only does gargling help to get rid of that garlic smell from your garlicky lunch, or your dragon fire morning breath, it can also help your mental state when you need a quick dose of calming down. So, when your boss or partner gets under your skin a little too deep, take a trip to the powder room, take in some H2O, and proceed to gargle until you’re feeling cool and calm again. GrlGrrlGrrrl, GrlGrrlGrrrl, GrlGrrlGrrrl Ahaaa.