3 reasons why clever people swear - it's good for you!


Sarah Hyland
@AVogelUK


13 January 2021

How can swearing be good for you?

Here are three good reasons why a good bout of swear words may make you healthier:

  1. Pain is alleviated by swearing
  2. Swearing can increase athletic power and strength
  3. Profanity is funny and humour has proven health benefits

Swearing can be good for you.

We swear when we stub our toe and when a black Audi cuts in front of us. We foul the air with curses when we think we have been treated unfairly and are upset, angry, frustrated. A good curse word is an emotional release, the more forceful the better. It can deliver a verbal punch that feels good when you may not want to hit someone but you want them to know how wound up you feel.

Interestingly, swearing comes from a primitive part of the brain called the basal ganglia. Stroke sufferers who have lost the ability to speak can still sometimes sing or vent expletives; their paralysis may affect only the left hemisphere of their brain. Swear words can be automatic speech, a welcome release.

I am here to tell you today that it is ok to say 'feic you 2020!' and 'p**s off pandemic'! There are health benefits to swearing. You can wield your expletives to lend storytelling emphasis, if not authority.

Read on! If nothing else, you can use the information in this article to lend dignity and credence to your discrete use of choice swear words. 

What are the benefits of swearing?

1.Pain is alleviated by swearing1

We all want to shout out terrible words when we hurt ourselves, and for good reason. Think of that stubbed toe and what pops out of your mouth when it happens. One study asked participants to stick their arms in freezing buckets of icy water. This is a really good way of measuring people's tolerance to pain without having to hurt them. The researchers wanted to test whether fake curse words like 'fouche' would be as effective as regular garden profanities at increasing pain threshold.

The results? Not on your nelly, it doesn't. Even though the fake swear word was considered distracting and possibly humorous, it didn't make the experience more endurable. Saying 'F**k!', however, did, suggesting that swearing may have a positive therapeutic effect on pain experience. Consider a good swear word like a verbal squeeze or rub on your stubbed toe. You may still need a little Atrogel, but it will help.

2.Swearing can increase athletic power and strength2

Another swearing study made participants alternately swear, not swear or utter fake swear words before a test of strength and power (squeezing a handgrip and sprinting). The most profane ran faster and had tighter grips. Ergo, when a burst of strength or energy is wanted, think terrible words to propel you. I will remember this, the next time I am lugging the bins out in the rain or kicking in the door of my son's bedroom to collect his pile of stinking laundry.

3. Profanity is funny and humour has proven health benefits

Profanity can be colourful, sometimes creative and often funny. We use swear words to emphasise a point, to make something more shocking or to provide an element of surprise in our stories. Potty-themed jokes can make my mother cry with laughter; she loves a bit of silliness. She will love knowing that chimpanzees may swear like sailors when taught sign language3.

The relationship between humour and health is well documented. Humour relieves depression, anxiety and improves sleep quality4. Laughing is a good workout for the lungs. It relieves stress and anxiety5. Endorphins, chemicals that make us feel happy, are made by the body when we laugh. 

My Self-Care Tip: Swearing is good for you!

In this video, I talk about the surprising benefits of swearing for health, pain relief, exercise and stress reduction.

When you need more than swearing......

There will be times in our life when muffled curse words will be uttered. They have just announced, here in Ireland, that schools will not be reopening this month! Social media is predicting a sharp rise in wine consumption and a drop in Veganuary follow-through.
Don't let lockdown stop you from reaching goals that will make you feel good. The answer to a happy life may be more simple and easier to achieve than you think.

  • Try to laugh every day
  • Exercise - is your happy self is an active little bunny? Click here to find out more. 
  • Eat and drink sensibly. It works. Click here if you want more advice and information.
  • Reduce the stress in your life, and not just by swearing. Deep breathing, yoga, punch bags and hugs will all help. Herbal remedies can help alongside these measures to induce calmness and encourage relaxation. The A.Vogel site has many helpful articles, click here.
  • 'F' it all, try to be your best self: you are worth the trouble.

References:

1 https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00723/full 2 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1469029216301352 

3 https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2018/01/science-swearing-profanity-curse-emma-byrne/ https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jan.14000

4 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jan.14000

5 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27439375/

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