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Swearing Makes You F**king Feel Better

Illustration for article titled Swearing Makes You F**king Feel Better

It happens all the time. You stub your toe or bash your elbow, scream "Mother SUCKER!" (or something), and instantly feel just a bit better. It's true: your potty mouth saves you aspirin money. Science!

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According to research by Richard Stephens of Keele University's School of Psychology, swearing elicits an emotional response known as "stress-induced analgesia," more commonly known as "fight or flight," and with that comes a burst of adrenaline. Adrenaline is a hell of a drug, and it helps you push through that pain until you get through the pain-causing situation. So, you should swear all faulkin' time, right? Actually, the opposite.

The study found that people who swear a lot in their daily lives do not get the same benefit from swearing when in pain, since the curse words don't represent a true emotional response. It only works for people to whom swearing is something significant.

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Stephens' findings, published in The Journal of Pain (which, jeez), found that people who only swear rarely could hold their hands in a painful bath of ice water for twice as long when cussing as when not. Frequent swearers seemed to find no benefit at all. So the lesson is that your mother was right, you shouldn't swear so much. Not because it makes Baby Jesus cry, but because someday you might need a boost to get you out of a serious situation. I'm already ruined for most curse words, so I'm going to have to make up something truly vile if I ever find myself falling into a frozen river. [The Independent via TechDigest.tv]

Image credit: Shutterstock/dundanim

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DISCUSSION

IceMetalPunk
IceMetalPunk

First, "adrenaline" has an E at the end, Brent.

#corrections

Second, they did this on MythBusters already. No lie.

Third, I don't think it's the swearing that matters. It's the taboo. The idea that "ooh, I'm saying something terrible" is the adrenaline boost. If you screamed out, "CHOPPED UP BABIES FOR DINNER!" I suspect it would work just as well. Maybe better for me, since I fucking swear all the goddamn time and shit.