What the #%@%! How swearing actually makes you healthier

November 7, 2019

Growing up, most of us were told that swearing, cursing or cussin’ (whatever you want to call it) was bad. At least I wasn’t allowed to do it, it was always looked down upon and regarded as something that only bad people do, unless it was my uncle, lol. He used swear words like an art form, LOL.

But I digress. Medical researchers actually found that swearing can actually help you and your body in so many ways. Here are just three reasons why you should swear a little bit more:

1.) Swearing can help relieve stress

“Studies show that when you put people in stressful situations and tell them they cannot swear, their performance goes down and their experience of stress is much greater,” explains computer scientist and author Emma Byrne, PhD. She points to research done in airplane cockpits and operating rooms: Pilots and surgeons who are allowed to swear on the job are better able to recover from stressful events (think: tricky takeoffs and landings, or a real stressful, life-altering surgery) compared to pilots and surgeons who aren’t permitted to curse. So remember, a few curse words can be a useful way to blow off some f*cking steam and get the job done.

2.) Swearing while you sweat may make you physically stronger

You know those grips you can squeeze to build finger, hand, and forearm strength? Well, they work much better if you curse while you squeeze, according to researchers. “We’ve seen that you can exercise much more force on those objects and also do it for longer if you’re swearing while you hold them,” explains Byrne. “It increases your resilience and strength temporarily.”

So the next time you bang out reps at the gym, try saying a few choice words and see what that does for you. And if you ever find yourself in a situation in which you need to summon extreme strength, to lift a heavy object off someone trapped beneath it—swear with all your might, and you may find yourself having a bit of the strength of the incredible hulk, without the green.

3.) Swearing helps with pain management

You’re rushing to get ready for work in the morning. Just as you’re about to head out the door you stub your toe on the corner of the kitchen table and yell your expletive of choice as a knee-jerk reaction. If that stinging foot doesn’t feel quite as painful immediately after you’ve cursed it out, it’s not just in your head. A study done at Keele University in the U.K. measured the effects swearing had on pain tolerance, and found that we can withstand more pain when using profanity. Why is that? “When we swear, it sends a message to the amygdala in the brain,” explains Amy Cooper Hakim, Ph.D, practicing in Florida. “The words themselves don’t help us to better tolerate pain — but the emotional and physical reaction that we have by saying the words triggers the fight or flight response, which then gives us that burst of energy to make it through the difficult or painful task.” So the next time you hurt yourself, feel free to curse at whatever inanimate object is to blame.

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