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According to science, swearing is good for your health

Stressed? Angry? Frustrated?

Go ahead, if you want to let loose with the @#%$%^!!!

According to science, swearing has a number of health benefits.

So you don’t have to feel bad about being a potty-mouth anymore. Science doesn’t even give a f*ck about it.

Here are the science-backed reasons why swearing is actually good for your health.

1. Swearing increases your pain tolerance.

Experts have always maintained that swearing worsens one’s pain by catastrophizing the reason that caused it.

But why, during our most painful moments, do we have the intense desire to curse?

Psychologist Richard Stephens wondered the same thing, so he conducted an experiment to find out why.

He asked 67 students at Keele University to put their hands under icy cold water for a long time, once while saying a neutral word and once while cursing.

The results indicated that swearing helped increase the students’ pain tolerance. It also decreased the perceived amount of pain.

But wait, there’s a catch:

Stephen’s follow up study shows that it won’t work if you’re already a potty-mouth.

So just because swearing can be healthy, doesn’t mean you can abuse it. Like everything else in life: Everything in moderation.

2. Swearing is cathartic.

You can only relate if you’ve experienced it.

A moment when you were so angry or frustrated that you let a curse out, you feel cathartic doing it.

Swearing, for many people, is just another way of expressing emotions. It’s a way to vent. And it feels like a release of sorts, that you can feel it in your body.

Timothy Jay, psychologist and one of the world’s leading curse researchers says:

“It also communicates very effectively, almost immediately, our feelings. And other words don’t do that.”

3. It lets out your animal instincts but still reminds you that you’re human.

No matter how much civilized we get, we still have our animalistic instincts.

Swearing is a unique way to release your most basic instincts out, yet remind you of your human vulnerabilities.

In Steven Pinker’s book The Stuff of Thought, he suggests that it’s because swearing is the “cross-wiring of the mammalian rage circuit.”

Cursing triggers a signal from the brain’s amygdala to the hypothalamus and on to the gray matter in the midbrain, which means that it’s simply a normal emotional response.

Yet, contrary to our fellow animals, swearing means different for us humans.

Emma Byrne, scientist and author of the popular book “Swearing Is Good For You” explains:

“Far from being a simple cry, swearing is a complex social signal that is laden with emotional and cultural significance.”

“Swearing has also helped to develop the field of neuroscience.


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“It has helped us to discover some fascinating things about the structure of the human brain, such as its division into left and right hemispheres, and the role of cerebral structures like the amygdala in the regulation of emotions.”

3. Swearing makes you more honest than most people.

A 2017 study explored the relationship between profanity and honesty.

After studying 267 people and later on, 73,000 Facebook users, the researchers found that people who swear more are typically more honest to themselves and to others.

They reasoned out that, since swearers use profanity to express their emotions, they regularly portray themselves in a more honest light.

The researchers concluded:

“We found a consistent positive relationship between profanity and honesty; profanity was associated with less lying and deception at the individual level, and with higher integrity at the society level.”

4. The use of profanity is a sign of intelligence.

According to researchers from Marist College and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, swearing can be a sign of intelligence and verbal fluency.

Those who have higher levels of verbal intelligence (intelligence associated with oral langue) are the ones who usually use more profanity.

Dr. Timothy Jay, the study’s main author, concluded:

“Taboo or ‘swear word’ fluency is positively correlated with overall verbal fluency. The more words you generated in one category meant the more words you generated in another category, orally and verbally.”

5. It can build camaraderie.

You might think swearing puts off other people. But that’s not always the case.

In fact, science proves the effect can be positive.

Swearing in some social settings can improve camaraderie.

According to this 2004 study published in the Journal of Pragmatics, swearing can help build solidarity between coworkers.

Researchers found that swearing is commonly used between tight-knit coworkers to express friendliness and to fix or ease uncomfortable situations like refused requests or complaints.

Dr. Byrne adds:

“From the factory floor to the operating theatre, scientists have shown that teams who share the same lexicon of swearing tend to work more effectively together, feel closer, and are more productive than those that don’t.”

Takeaway

Swearing isn’t only associated with negative or aggressive emotions. And using profanity here and there doesn’t make you an angry or miserable person.

It’s just a colorful way of expressing a wide variety of emotions.

Dr. Byrne explains:

“I’m evangelical in my defense of swearing, not just on the grounds of freedom of expression, but because it can be beneficial to us both as individuals and as a species.

“Because it’s so emotive, it’s natural to want to tune out swearing; but research proves we should listen more closely when someone swears, because chances are they’re telling us something important.

“So I’m not necessarily encouraging people to swear more, but I do think we should give it the respect it deserves.”

Swearing is not necessarily bad for you. In fact, from all of the reasons above, using some colorful language may even do you some good.

So why not let loose a little?

[The daily application of mindfulness lead to greater success in all areas of your life – including your health and emotional resilience. Check out our practical guide to living a more mindful life here].

Notable replies

  1. F&ck yeah ! Great article. I’ve worked with masonry for decades, I’ve witnessed many conversations in cuss , some worthwhile. I remember having a conversation with a nice lady who was trying to talk herself into doing a mud run. She had been working on her fitness for some time and she felt that she may have been ready but was apprehensive. I asked her to say out loud , "F4ck it ! I’m in ! ". The moment she said it she smiled so big and thanked me and signed up then and there.

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Written by Genefe Navilon

Genefe Navilon is a writer, poet, and blogger. She graduated with a degree in Mass Communications at the University of San Jose Recoletos. Her poetry blog, Letters To The Sea, currently has 18,000 followers. Her work has been published in different websites and poetry book anthologies. She divides her time between traveling, writing, and working on her debut poetry book.

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