Swearing can officially make you feel better, says new scientific research. As member of the human race who has stubbed my toe, I can confirm: a few choice words can do wonders for the psyche. But now there’s proof.
Upon noticing that ladies actively giving birth do an awful lot of swearing, Keele University’s Dr. Richard Stephens began to think that salty language must provide some sort of pain relief. “I thought there was a good chance swearing would help people cope with pain,” he tells the Daily Beast. He was right. Cursing can’t take the place of say, heavy anesthetic, but it can ease the trauma of being alive.
By watching people play different video games (golf vs. shoot ’em up), monitoring how and when they swore, Stephens was able to come to the conclusion that cursing is “actually emotional language, and can make you feel better in certain situations.” Situations like giving birth and playing video games. Also, losing at Scrabble, hitting your hip bone on the bathroom door frame, or realizing that you have to do laundry this weekend. That’s an abridged list. There’s a lot of pain in life. “If you’re waiting for an ambulance and have no drugs,” Stephens continues (that too, I guess) “cursing can actually reduce the feeling of pain.” Ok, fine.
And that’s all in addition to swearing’s social function, which is not to be underestimated, says Stephens — “close relationships, friendships or intimacy with others, and bonds can be formed around it.” Just think of how much better your life would be if you were swearing this very minute! (So much better, apparently.) Putin may not approve, but you’ve got science on your side.