I don’t swear a great deal, though there’s always a certain tremendously wonderful release to letting a good F bomb fly.
And, as it happens, a few studies just may suggest that cursing is good for you, as it may be linked to intelligence, emotional stability, humor, workplace productivity, and good health.
Let’s look at each piece one at a time.
First, intelligence: In 2015, researchers at two New England schools (Marist College and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts) decided to test the age-old idea that swearing was a sign of limited intelligence.
What they found will likely surprise you, or will certainly surprise your parents and teachers who told you not to cuss: Individuals with what they termed “swear word fluency” tended to score higher on intelligence tests than those less versed in the art of cussing. Additionally, frequent cussers generally held a larger vocabulary, as well.
Second, then: Emotional stability.
Many of us who do cuss do so because it’s an emotional outlet, and studies led by Richard Stevens of Keele University have found that cursing in this way can prove a helpful, therapeutic outlet by helping you cope with stress, release additional endorphins, and generally process your feelings.
There’s even a term that describes this process: lalochezia. Most simply, it can be defined as an “emotional discharge gained by uttering indecent or filthy words.”
Look at that: Cursing is good for your sanity!
Third, cursing can be linked to good humor.
Samuel L Jackson may be a prime example: Just think of how many different ways he can say “mother fucker,” and quite a few of them are funny!
And there’s science that explains why we find vulgar language funny.
As psychologist Dr Jay writes in his book Why We Curse, it’s natural human reaction to find obscene language funny, courtesy the neuro-psycho-social theory, which states our reaction can be explained by “neurological control, psychological restraints and socio-cultural restrictions.”
As a result, using what might otherwise be considered taboo language naturally excites us (causing laughter) precisely because it could be considered taboo.
That brings us to workplace productivity. Recent studies have shown that some people actually prefer to work with potty mouths, which in turn makes them more productive in such a work environment.
This is especially true of Millennials, according to a recent study from Wrike, which found that 67 percent of women and 60 percent of men admit to dropping F bombs in the office—and nearly half of all the participants (40 percent of women and 47 percent of men) admitted they actually prefer to work in environments where cursing is commonplace.
Lastly, cursing is good for our health, both in helping us deal with physical pain and in helping us channel our aggression.
As research published in NeuroReport shows, swearing can actually increase our pain tolerance. As the study found, when it comes to submerging hands into ice water for as long as tolerable, swearing helped participants last significantly longer.
Additionally, participants had lower perceived pain, in addition to lasting longer, when they swore.
And that same principle can be applied when it comes to our aggression: Cursing can help us manage our frustration and aggression in much more healthy ways, which is it’s own sort of pain management.
As a result, swearing can help reduce incidences of violence, provided you’re not swearing to incite someone else to violence, of course. As Dr Jay of Why We Curse notes, “one positive aspect of cursing is that it replaces more primitive physical aggressions.”
Says Jay, “You build up sort of an arousal level with whatever that emotion you’re feeling and then, when you release that by swearing, it vents that emotion, whatever that emotion is. From an evolutionary point of view, it’s much better than resorting to some type of physical violence.”
So next time you feel the urge to curse—go ahead!
It just might make you healthier!
*This content was inspired by an amazing article that can be found here.