Talk Nerdy To Me’s @StaffWriter:
Swallowing is an important body function that helps us digest food. But did you know that swallowing can also be a gesture of communication? In fact, it’s one of the most common gestures used in communication. Swallowing can mean different things depending on the context in which it is used. Here are some non verbal examples.
9 Things Swallowing Means in Body Language
There are at least nine things swallowing can mean in body language. Let’s go through each possible meaning so that you completely understand this body language cue. Can you spot the emotion behind the gesture?
They Feel Nervous or Anxious
When we feel nervous or anxious, our body goes into “fight or flight” mode.
The sympathetic nervous system is activated, releasing a burst of adrenaline. This adrenaline rush prepares the body for action by increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration.
It also diverts blood flow away from the digestive system and towards the muscles.
As a result, we may start to feel lightheaded or dizzy, and our stomachs may start to churn. In order to prevent these symptoms from getting worse, our body instinctively tells us to swallow.
Swallowing helps to lower blood pressure and heart rate by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system. It also calms the stomach by stimulating the peristaltic reflex, which helps move food through the digestive tract.
They Feel Embarrassed
There are many factors that can contribute to a person feeling embarrassed.
In some cases, it may be due to a perceived transgression of social faux pas. In other cases, it may be the result of nerves or anxiety.
Whatever the cause, embarrassment is often accompanied by a physical response, including blushing, sweating, and – you guessed it – swallowing. While the act of swallowing may seem like an involuntary reflex, it is actually controlled by the autonomic nervous system.
This part of the nervous system is also responsible for regulating blood pressure and heart rate.
When we feel embarrassed, our brain signals our body to swallow in an effort to calm us down. In other words, swallowing is our body’s way of saying, “Don’t worry, everything will be okay.”
They Are Lying
Nervous liars tend to show various uncontrolled physical behaviors, including fidgeting, rapid blinking, and swallowing.
Furthermore, studies have found that people tend to take longer and more frequent swallows when telling an untrue story, perhaps as a subconscious attempt to add some credibility. Whatever the reason behind it, there is no denying that lying and swallowing seem to go hand in hand.
This phenomenon provides an important clue into the mind of someone who might be trying to deceive us.
They Are About to Say Something
When someone is about to speak, they might swallow first. It’s an unconscious gesture, like taking a quick inhale of breath, that happens just before you talk. And it turns out there’s a very good reason for it. Swallowing helps to lubricate your vocal cords, which prevents them from drying out and producing a scratchy sound. It also clears any debris that might be lodged in your throat.
When someone swallows before they speak, just think of it as a way of ensuring that they’ll be able to deliver their message loud and clear.
They Are Done Speaking
One reason people swallow is to punctuate the end of speech.
When we speak, our mouths are constantly moving as we form words and phrases. During this time, our mouths are producing a lot of saliva, which builds up in our mouths over time. At the end of a string of words or sentences, we may unconsciously swallow to clear out this excess saliva and prepare for the next round of talking.
This helps to maintain a good speaking flow by clearing out excess moisture from our mouths and allowing us to focus on what we want to say next. Furthermore, swallowing at the end of speech helps us shift into a listening mode more easily, as it signals that the speaker has finished speaking.
They Feel Danger
When you sense danger or feel unsafe, your body automatically goes into survival mode. This “fight-or-flight” response is a natural way to protect yourself from harm. In addition to making you more alert and preparing your muscles for action, this response also causes you to swallow.
Swallowing is one way to keep your airway clear in case you need to breathe quickly or run away. It also helps to prevent choking.
So, if you find yourself or someone else swallowing more often when feeling anxious or stressed, it’s because your body is likely just trying to stay safe.
They Might Cry
People often say that crying is “an emotional release,” but sometimes it’s not so easy to cry. In these situations, our body may try to trigger an emotional response by force-feeding the tear ducts, causing us to involuntarily swallow.
This involuntary swallowing occurs because of the close proximity between our tear ducts and our salivary glands.
In fact, the two are located so near each other that when one gets stimulated, they both do. Therefore, when a person represses their sadness or builds up enough emotion to start crying, the stimulation of their tear ducts can cause them to involuntarily swallow. Ultimately, this process serves as a natural defense mechanism for discouraging us from getting choked up with tears.
They Are Lost for Words
We’ve all been there before. We’re in the middle of a conversation and suddenly, we can’t think of anything to say. Pay close attention to the mouth here.
In moments like these, some people tend to swallow hard as they search for the right words. While it may seem like an odd reaction, swallowing can be a helpful way to buy time while we collect our thoughts.
As we mentioned earlier, the act of swallowing is controlled by the autonomic nervous system, which means that it’s an unconscious process.
As such, it can be used to signal to our brain that we need a moment to think.
They Are Digesting Information (Processing Information)
Finally, people might swallow because they are digesting or processing information.
In this case, swallowing is a physical manifestation of an internal operation.
When we listen to someone speak or read information in a book, our brains are constantly working to process and make sense of the incoming data. As this happens, our bodies may involuntarily go into “digestion mode” by causing us to swallow regularly as we take it all in.
Example: Body Language
Body language is one of today’s major communication tools. So, communication between humans is easily seen and physically seen. Body language is a key aspect for other relationships aside from working, such as dating, the relationship with a parent or a partner or a spouse. Observable body language can be expressed whether these signals are accompanied by words. The research on body language is called kinesics (pronounced kinesis). It translates from the Greek word kinesis to motion.
Body Language Definitions
Clearly both language and communication are very vague What does the meaning of body language mean? Is it useful for us to learn how it works? Body language goes beyond the simple description. Standard dictionary definitions do not usually describe the word accurately. The body language translates as unconscious and conscious transmissions and understandings of feelings, attitudes and moods via the use of establishing a baseline on the individual and then following transmissions and interpretations.
What does gulping mean body language?
In an attempt to clean a person’s throat, they often swallow and then cough and clear their throat. The body increases adrenaline production, and this stimulates saliva production. When saliva bursts, they may have gulped.
What does hard swallow mean?
Someone’s words can have a difficult meaning when questioned by a stranger.
Extra Credit: How to read neck body language?
Because the neck has thousands of nerves, the touch with the neck activates these nerves, sending a strong message through the entire body. This translates to pacify. Sometimes it is easy for people to hide their necks in a certain way, depending upon the person around them. Think of turtles. Upon escaping the nest, the turtle shows its neck. It is possible that presenters hide their necks during sales meetings or when salespeople are not sure what pitch they are putting forward. So it usually indicates someone’s openness when you open the neck.