Is Swearing Bad For Your Mental Health?
When it comes to swearing, Australians have a reputation for being a little more loosely tongued-than other nations.
In Fact you could say that it is every bit as ingrained in an Aussies’ DNA as a love of surfing, barbecues, and beer.
However, while some other countries may see swearing as a sign of low education and a lack of vocabulary, there is growing evidence that it actually possesses some important health benefits. This is particularly believed to be the case with regard to mental health.
You might think this is bollocks or bullshit!
But there are a few compelling reasons why this is the case. So please allow us to elaborate below.
5 Reasons why swearing is good for your mental health
In recent times, several studies have investigated the degree to which cursing might affect your mental health.
Outlined below are five reasons why the use of profanity could well have a positive impact on it.
1. Helps cope with health issues
There is convincing evidence that swearing can help you to cope with severe or debilitating health issues.
One study of patients with cancer or long-term chronic illness found that dropping profanity was a useful tool to help people process their emotions and deal with the enormity of the situation.
This was found to be especially true for men, who were less likely to express their pain, sadness, or sense of loss through public displays of fear or crying.
2. Provides toxic stress relief
Other research has shown that like crying, swearing can also be a form of toxic stress relief.
According to Dr Emma Byrne, author of the book Swearing is Good For You, people who are allowed to swear in stressful situations are able to deal with them much more effectively than those who were forbidden from cursing.
Likewise, they also appear to suffer much less from the effects of toxic stress as well.
The reason for this is believed to be that swearing enables an individual to fully express their emotion and get rid of it from their body. Which results in a reduction of physical and mental damage.
3. Makes people closer
A study in New Zealand has found that swearing can actually bring people together.
Apparently, it breaks down barriers, shows vulnerability and enables people to create and develop strong relationships.
It also is thought to disperse social awkwardness, add humour to certain situations and foster a level of trust and integrity.
4. Reduces physical pain
One of the main mental health benefits of dropping the occasional F-bomb is that it can reduce and relieve your physical pain.
In 2009, a study by Keele University found that students who put their hands into freezing cold water reported less pain and were able to submerge it for longer if they swore. As opposed to those who muttered a neutral word.
One suggestion of why this happened was because profanity kick starts a ‘fight or flight’ response. This in turn increases one’s heart rate and flows more adrenaline around your body – which are two responses that can make pain feel more tolerable.
Thus, balancing the physical stress on your body and helping to counteract the pain.
5. Swearing might make you stronger
Some experts believe swearing can increase your strength, at least temporarily.
This is because it is seen to initiate your resilience.
One example is when lifting something heavy. If you curse whilst doing so, it often gives you a bit of extra strength and impetus.
Other benefits of swearing
As well as the mental health benefits showcased above, some researchers believe there are other benefits to swearing too.
One of the main ones, as determined in a study in 2015 was that cursing may be a sign of intelligence.
Another in 2017 found that it was a sign of honesty as well.
Swearing is also believed to be an indicator of creativity and can also be a way of protecting ourselves from potential physical harm that might come from confrontation.
Whilst swearing might have some good benefits for your mental health there are still some circumstances where it remains advisable not to do so.
For instance, swearing at a police officer is a criminal offence and could result in you receiving a hefty fine.
Other circumstances too, as outlined by LY Lawyers could land you in hot water with the authorities.
Consequently, if you are going to swear, you would be wise to choose your moments carefully.