The Science of Swearing

Is swearing a good stress reliever?

While swearing is generally frowned upon, the occasional slip up is common, usually when driving through the Long Island Expressway at rush hour, banging your knee on a coffee table, or watching a movie character descend to their doom in a creepy house.  All of these stressful situations prompt us to use the vulgarity we've been taught to avoid. But could swearing actually relieve the stress?

An article in Scientific American says that the act of swearing actually relieves pain. Because we don't use swear words very often, the emotional weight they carry is far higher than any other words. Using them causes our heart rate to increase and makes us less suceptible to pain.

Reported in the article, a Harvard professor compared human swearing to sounds made by animals when they are startled or hurt: next time you accidentally step on your cat, listen to the violent hiss. There's your f-bomb. These reactions are innate, and could be a way to defend against an attacker in the wild, by intimidating them.

So next time you find yourself stressed out, don't be afraid to swear a bit, it might be good for you. But be warned: if you swear too much, the words won't be as potent. Sometimes a nice cup of tea and honey is just enough to calm the nerves.

Jaclyn Onufrey is a junior at Wantagh High School 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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