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Judi Lynn

(161,314 posts)
Tue Jun 25, 2024, 01:24 AM Jun 25

A Psychologist Reveals The Unexpected Benefits Of Swearing [View all]

Mark Travers

Jun 24, 2024, 06:30pm EDT

A review paper published this month in Frontiers In Psychology unearthed the various reasons why swearing, often considered inappropriate and a bad habit, can be a helpful psychological coping tool. While commonly associated with anger and aggression, swearing can instead play a positive role in a person’s well-being, providing an important outlet to manage stressful events.

Here are a few reasons why swearing can be beneficial, according to the researchers.

  • Pain relief. One of the most notable benefits of swearing is its hypoalgesic effect—the ability to reduce pain sensitivity or the perception of pain. A classic 2009 study found that when participants submerged their hands in icy water, those who were allowed to swear, as opposed to using neutral words, could endure the pain significantly longer.

  • Emotional regulation. Expressing frustration or anger through swearing can help release built-up tension. By vocalizing intense emotions, individuals may experience a reduction in stress levels and emotional catharsis. Interestingly, a 2022 study found that multilingual individuals prefer swearing in their native language to evoke and process their emotions.

  • Self-confidence. Research shows that swearing can improve performance in tasks requiring physical strength and enhance the amount of positive emotion and self-confidence a person experiences.

  • Managing social rejection. A 2017 study found that swearing can also relieve “social pain,” which occurs when social bonds are threatened. Swearing can help manage feelings of rejection in these moments. While it can be offensive to some, it can also strengthen social connections, creating a sense of camaraderie, breaking the ice and adding a layer of honesty and authenticity to some social interactions.
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