Who Knew That Swearing Had These Benefits?

by Megan Grant

Good news, everyone: Cursing ain't all that bad for you! There's (somewhat surprisingly) been a good deal of research done into the unexpected benefits of swearing, and it turns out that there are actual physiological responses that occur when you drop a curse word or seven. I'm not talking about the obvious fact that sometimes it just feels really good, and other times it's plain old funny; I mean measured, observed health benefits — both mental and physical — from using all those words your parents never let you use. And to think they always threatened to wash our mouths out with soap.

Why does using these words invoke any kind of response at all? Many believe that it's due to the mere fact that our culture has deemed them taboo, and we know that riding the line between what's appropriate and what isn't sometimes results in our pushing the boundaries. Cursing gives us the opportunity to challenge social norms. When we swear, we know we're breaking the rules, and that? Is kind of fun.

Researchers and scientists have gone deep into the topic, talking about what swearing does to our brains and using big words like "neurotransmitter" and "amygdala"; but I'm going to keep it a bit more simple for now. Here are five unexpected benefits from dropping a curse word or two. Who knew, right?

1. It Aids In Pain Relief

We officially have a legitimate excuse to curse like a sailor: It helps relieve pain. Several studies have found that swearing increases not only your heart rate but also your tolerance to pain. One study in particular timed how long college students could keep their hands in cold water. Some students were allowed to curse, while others could not. The ones who swore reported less pain; furthermore, that were able to keep their hands in the water about 40 seconds longer on average.

2. It Can Make You More Persuasive

Researchers at Northern Illinois University had students listen to three speeches arguing for lower tuition. Participants found the speech more persuasive when it started and finished with an expletive, as opposed to one that remained G-rated. So if you want a better chance at convincing people, you better start dropping the F-bomb. (Kidding. Maybe.)

3. It Can Help You Maintain A Sense Of Calmness And Control

Studies have found that swearing (as long as it isn't paired with intense anger) increases circulation and endorphins, and improves your overall well-being by helping you remain more calm and in control of yourself.

4. Swearing Is Actually A Sign of Verbal Fluency

There's definitely a stereotype that swearing can make you appear low class and unintelligent. Not so! Studies have found that swearing is not correlated with having an insufficient vocabulary. In fact, the tendency to swear was related to verbal fluency . People who know additional swear words tend to have a more expansive vocabulary overall.

5. Cursing Releases Pent Up Anger And Frustration

This one may seem like a given, but exploration into the art of cursing has indeed found that when you're really ticked off, an expletive or two might do you good.

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