I swear a lot, not in front of strangers, but in front of people I know and trust. Aussies love cussing, and I don’t mind it at all. This post elaborates on the benefits of swearing, and some you’ve probably experienced yourself.
But first, some background
Apparently, most kids start swearing at the age of 6.1 However, I think the age is a bit lower. I know for a fact that you start swearing very early when you have older siblings.
Obviously, in different cultures, different types of words are considered curse words. In English, referring to genitals and all the colourful curse words that go with it is seen as taboo. But in Japanese, it is much more offensive to call someone a fool than to refer to genitals.1
But I digress. Here are the benefits of swearing. (This list is not exhaustive.)
It’s a natural pain killer
Cursing while experiencing physical pain can help one better deal with it.1,2 Apparently, swearing causes your body to have a fight-or-flight response and thus releases adrenaline, which aids in relieving pain.2,3,4 However, swearing only gives short-term pain relief.2
However, studies have found that swearing’s painkilling effects are much less if you’re already a person who swears a lot. This is because your body has built up tolerance towards swearing.2,3,4
So, you need to curse less if you want the benefits it brings. Aw f@#k.
Other health benefits
Swearing can also have physical health benefits like having better circulation, a discretion of feel-good hormones (endorphins and serotonin). It can also give you a sense of calm and control. However, again, you will only have these benefits if you’re not a potty mouth.3
However, excessive anger and swearing can be bad for your health—so moderation is key.3
Swearing builds emotional resilience
Swearing can be a coping mechanism. This is because swearing builds emotional resilience because it helps us cope when we feel out of control in a certain situation.2 Cussing can give you the sense of having power over a situation, where you really have no control.3,4 It can act as protection when we feel our self-esteem is under attack. This, in turn, builds resilience and confidence.3
That is not to say that these coping mechanisms are effective as such. However, it does help you release pent up tension and frustration. Then, when we’re in a similar, annoying, or painful situation again, we have built up a bit of resilience. Thus, swearing can be seen as an emotional regulation tool, but only in the short term.2
Swearing helps you to express yourself
Dropping a swear word (or swearing profusely) can help you vent some frustrations and help you calm down. Thus, swearing helps you to release physical and psychological tension.2
Swearing is a healthier outlet for anger than other means. Punching someone in the throat, no matter what they did is still a crime, so let’s try to avoid that (that’s me talking to myself, by the way). Thus, you can express your anger or disgust at something without resorting to physical violence.1,3
Swearing can also be an expression of creativity. As you know, people can turn cuss words into funny and creative sayings.2 This is especially true for my mother tongue, Afrikaans.
Swearing allows you to communicate more effectively. This is because, in addition to communicating the meaning of the utterance, you also communicate your feelings about it.1
Helps to develop better relationships
Most decent people don’t cuss in all kinds of company. Most of us have to censor our swearing and, in that way, we are concealing who we really are. However, when we’re with close friends or family, we do not censor ourselves and swear away. We are relaxed and don’t have to hide who we are.2 In this way, you’re being more honest and authentic about who you are and that develops more genuine relationships.2,4
Just note that this kind of swearing is often shared. It would be weird if you’re the only potty mouth in the conversation. This also means you’re just swearing in the conversation, you’re not swearing at someone, which is bad because it causes animosity.2
Swearing helps social bonding because in the right crowd you get validation and swearing can make you seem like a genuine, trustworthy and fun person.3,4
Have you ever gone on a profanity fit of rage and felt way better afterwards? Well, the science now backs it. There are many benefits to swearing.
Are you a potty mouth? Do you think it helps you? I’d love to read about it in the comments.
P.S.: I used these sources: