Go ahead and swear it out; science has finally confirmed that it's good for your health!
Multiple scientists have finally confirmed what some of us already felt, swearing can have quite a few beneficial side effects.
Calm down, sailor, there are some caveats here.
Let's start by taking a look at the work done by researchers at Keele University. Fans of Mythbusters may recognize some of the basics of this study, as something similar was done in a very small scale on the show with surprisingly similar results.
Researchers put test subjects into an ice bath and asked them to stay for as long as they could stand. On average, people made it about a minute and fifteen seconds.
Interestingly, the people who let loose the expletives were able to stand the ice bath for about 50% longer. Swearing made them better able to handle pain.
Turns out this scene in 40-year Old Virgin was scientifically accurate.
According to Dr. Richard Stephens, swearing helps trigger your brain to release adrenaline; a chemical well-known for numbing pain as part of your natural fight or flight response.
"Adrenaline is released, the heart pumps faster and we become more enabled to overcome an aggressor or make a swift getaway. Swearing helps many people better tolerate pain."
Neurologist, Dr. Steven Pinker has written a book detailing five different ways that humans use swear words. Interestingly, it's pretty similar regardless of what language you speak or what words you deem as swearing.
Kelly Clarkson! Again!
People swear as a descriptive word:
"I need to take a sh*t."
People swear for emphasis:
"This ice cream is SO f*cking good!"
People swear to abuse others:
People swear as an idiom:
"That was f*cked up."
And finally, the use with all the power, people swear as catharsis:
Numbing pain isn't the only benefit we get from swearing, though. Dr. Emma Byrne and her colleagues at City University London have found that swearing can be something of a bonding experience.
She's found that groups of people who share the same lexicon of swearing (meaning they swear the same way) work together more effectively, feel closer, and are overall more productive than those who don't.
Those same studies showed that swearing helps relieve stress and can reduce instances of violence. Dr. Byrne has even been able to demonstrate the ways in which swearing has shifted from a negative to being used more in positive situations.
She studied thousands of football fans and their language during games and found that they swear just as much when they are excited or happy as they do when they're frustrated.
This kid's got it down, we're sure of it!
Now remember when we said there was a caveat to all of this?
It turns out the pain-numbing social-bonding happy happy joy joy effects really only work for those who don't swear on a regular basis. Like many things, your body and brain can build up a tolerance to the effects, rendering them all pretty much useless if you're a frequent flyer on "F*ck You" airlines.
So keep the swearing to a minimum, but don't be afraid to let out a good old fashioned "Kelly Clarkson!" when you need one.
It's good for you!