Emotional Wellbeing



Mandy Kloppers

The psychological benefits of swearing

Believe it or not, the psychological benefits of swearing are numerous. Because of the taboo surrounding swearing, you get the added bonus of feeling that you are a rebel who doesn’t care about what others think. It feels liberating to go against the grain of acceptability at times.

The history of curse words and profanity was part of spoken words in the medieval era. The word FU*K was used in English in the fifteenth century, though the usage in earlier times of the 13th century was not with abusive intent. The word SH#T is the oldest of words in use with early references found in German and Scandinavian languages.


Benefits of swearing

Reduces anxiety

Swearing helps to restore inner peace. if you feel frustration, a good swearing session can calm you and  reduce anxiety. Anxiety is often a build-up of negative thinking and swearing can reset that feeling of turmoil

Provides outlet for tension

Following on from the previous point, bad language provides an instant outlet for your inner tension. It’s quick, free and easy. What’s not to like? Swearing is an underappreciated anger management technique.

Provides a quick release  of dopamine

That rush you get when you swear loudly releases a burst of dopamine. Dopamine makes us feel good. it may be short-lived but it works in the moment. Take a look at why you are swearing – is it a temporary problem like slamming your finger in the car door (good for your brain bit good for your finger) or is it an ongoing problem? Swearing is great for short-term problems but won’t do much longterm. Then you will need to adopt swearing as well as problem-solving to get through and make progress. Swearing is optional of course.

Swearing breaks down rigid boundaries

Black and white thinking always causes anxiety for those that think this way. A rigid view of life will cause you many disappointments. Flexible thinking is the key to reducing anxiety. Flexible thinkers tend to be more open-minded (and this includes the topic of swearing). Swearing doesn’t define you as a person. It may give away one of your coping strategies but I say do what works!

Swearing gives you a sense of control

When you are faced with a problem in life, it often feels as if you have lost control and uncertainty has taken over. The simple act of swearing offers psychological support in the form of power. “I feel angry and I am going to express it” (by swearing). It helps you to feel you have control over your reactions even if you can’t solve the issue immediately.

Swearing is an acceptable, non-violent response

Swearing may seem aggressive depending on the situation, context and how you ‘deliver’ it. Having said that, if the swearing isn’t aimed at anyone in particular, it’s a legitimate form of expression that won’t result in handcuffs or jail time. Swearing is a non-violent way to dissipate inner anger. I’d rather see someone swear than act out physically any day.

Swearing can relieve physical pain

Keele University researchers Stephens, Atkins, and Kingston found that swearing relieves the effects of physical pain. Stephens said “I would advise people, if they hurt themselves, to swear”. However, the overuse of swear words tends to diminish this effect.The Keele team won the Ig Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 for their research.

It’s good for self-expression

People will drive you nuts. Society will send you round the bend but swearing is one form of self-expression that still lives on.

The health benefits of swearing include increased circulation, elevated endorphins, and an overall sense of calm, control, and well-being.

In her new book Swearing Is Good for You: The Amazing Science of Bad Language, author Emma Byrne makes a strong case that, at least to some extent, the answer is yes – swearing is good for you.

The British scientist writes in the book’s introduction that swearing is “socially and emotionally essential” and “beneficial to us both as individuals and as a species.”

Swearing is so fundamental to human expression, she reveals, that even people with neurological conditions that cause them to lose the ability to speak regular words are still able to swear. Swearing can offer emotional catharsis and improve productivity. Her hope, she writes, is that we “might give it the respect it fucking deserves.”

So the next time you feel like swearing – go for it. It will probably help you to feel better instantly!

Mandy X

Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash

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