Forget What Your Parents Said: Swearing Is Good For You

Scream, shout, let it all out – research has shown that cursing can be therapeutic


We’ve all been guilty of it — an excremental curse here, an F-bomb there. Call it a human need for expression, but swearing is part and parcel of our daily lives. Sure, it can be very unrefined and in social situations, terribly improper. But according to scientific studies, it’s an in-built remedy we should embrace.

Take UK psychologist Richard Stephens’ 2009 social experiment. In it, students who were allowed to yell profanities were able to keep their hands submerged in ice water longer than those who could only use non-swear words — proving that swearing has a pain-relieving effect and offers cathartic release. (A later study discovered that cussing sparingly is more effective at killing pain than frequent swearing.)

According to other researchers, swearing also provides emotional release to make you feel stronger, promotes resilience and triggers a better coping mechanism in stressful situations. On top of that, cursing is said to improve your relationships with others (we’re guessing this excludes the person you’ve aimed at)…not to mention it can help spice up language.

In her book Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing, author Melissa Mohr sheds even more illuminating light on profanity. Apparently, words like ‘ass’ and ‘sh*t’ have been found in Anglo-Saxon texts that date back as far as the early Middle Ages. And the ancient Romans were said to have formed the first models for swear words, though theirs were a lot more G-rated.

The bottomline? Screaming and cursing is faster and cheaper than a session on your therapist’s couch. So when you need to vent, let loose with confidence. @!%# yeah!

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