When it comes to spoken conversation, I swear. A lot.
Sometimes, people tell me I use the word “fuck” too much.
Well, next time that happens, I’m backing that shit up with science.
Swearing can be cathartic, which can help us cope with “intolerable periods of inner conflict, repression and readjustment”.
Swearing can also help us deal with physical pain, believe it or not. One study6 tested how long participants could hold their hand in a bucket of icy water. In the first round, participants were allowed to say a neutral word. In the second round, they repeated a swear word instead. The study found that swearing helped:
Swearing increased pain tolerance, increased heart rate and decreased perceived pain compared with not swearing. However, swearing did not increase pain tolerance in males with a tendency to catastrophize.
You can read the full article here, complete with all kinds of references, and enough history and linguistics to make any nerd’s little heart skip a beat. It even contains everyone’s favorite video Well, OK, maybe it’s just mine.
But the takeaway is this: Swear early, and swear often, because fucking science.