Why cursing is a healthy feature of human behavior

By | March 18, 2023

Alex Orlando writes:

Well, damn. Maybe you stubbed your toe first thing in the morning. Or some thoughtless commuter forced you to slam the brakes on the drive to work. Perhaps you’re just fed up with it all and feel like sinking to your knees and cursing the heavens.

If you’ve ever suppressed the urge to unleash a string of obscenities, maybe think again. Some research suggests that it might be a better idea to simply let the filth fly.

Scientifically speaking, a penchant for profanity doesn’t seem to be such a bad thing. Studies have shown that swearing relieves stress, dulls the sensation of pain, fosters camaraderie among peers and is linked with traits like verbal fluency, openness and honesty.

And the effects of cursing are physical as well as mental. A 2018 study in Psychology of Sport and Exercise found that letting out a few choice words during a workout can actually make you stronger. In the study, participants who cursed aloud while gripping a hand vise were able to squeeze harder and longer.

Timothy Jay, professor emeritus of psychology at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, thinks that humans partly developed taboo language as an emotional release valve.

“There’s a point where it’s just more efficient to say, ‘F*&^ you,’ than it is to hit somebody,” adds Jay, a world-renowned expert in cursing. “We’ve evolved this very efficient way to vent our emotions and convey them to others.” [Continue reading…]

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