Did you know that swear words make up almost one percent of our daily vocabulary? According to research done by Timothy Jay, psychological scientist and author of Cursing in America, it’s true.
And it turns out, that’s not such a bad thing. Dropping your favorite four-letter-word might actually be good for you.
IT HELPS WITH PAIN MANAGEMENT
We've all been there. You're late for work and rushing around when you stub your pinky toe on the couch. Suddenly you're spewing every profanity known to man. Well, a study done at Keele University measured the effects swearing had on pain tolerance, and found that we can withstand more pain when using profanities. 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 go ahead and give that sofa hell for trying to kill you.
IT IMPROVES YOUR WORKOUT
There is research to support that vocalizing swear words during your workout can actually help boost your performance. Study participants who swore during their exercise routine saw a 2 to 4 percent increase in performance and 8 percent boost in strength compared to those who kept their mouths shut. Why does this help? Researchers surmise that when you're alone with your thoughts, suffering through your workout in silence, there's nothing distracting you from the task at hand. Cursing gives you something else to think about and when we're not focused on how hard our workouts are, we actually perform better. That's right, the next time your spin instructor tells you to dig deeper, tell him to f**k off.
IT RELEASES STRESS
Stressed the f**k out? "Cursing can be an effective emotional release, especially for anger and frustration," explains Laura MacLeod, LMSW practicing in New York. "By using words that are not welcomed or appropriate in most settings (professional, family, social) it can be very liberating to throw caution to the wind and curse." This provides a different release than when we're simply venting without expletives, because we're doing so without self-imposed limitations. "When we complain, vent or share anger without cursing, we are keeping ourselves in check," she says. "The stress is not released because we are sharing within guidelines, not totally releasing all feelings. When cursing, our whole body and all emotions are connected — no guidelines, no filter. The release is complete, and thus stress relieving."
IT CAN HELP YOU EXPRESS YOURSELF
A study published in the journal Language Sciences actually shows that people with potty mouths have larger vocabularies. The study had a group of 43 men and women say as many curse words as they could in one minute. Next, they had to name as many animal names as they could in the same amount of time. Researchers found that the more curse words a participant was able to generate, the more expansive a vocabulary they had. They hypothesized that having an expansive vocabulary of taboo words means that person is better able to express themselves in a verbose, nuanced way. You're so f**king smart.
IT MAKES YOU APPEAR MORE HONEST AND AUTHENTIC
A recent study found that profanity is correlated with genuine feelings and emotions in social interactions, which indicated that those who curse may also be more likely to be truthful.Clinical therapist Amy Deacon explains that "cursing in a positive scenario makes us come across as honest, authentic and assertive because swearing is such a raw form of expression," she says. "You are getting an uncensored, raw, unfiltered response that is a gut reaction and reflective of what the person is really feeling of thinking." Trustworthy AF.
So the next time you’re venting to friends, in pain or at the gym, let the f-bombs fly.
I guess that means Snarky Tea the healthiest tea in the world?