Most of us are familiar with the inexplicable feeling of satisfaction that releasing a few “F-bombs” can provide when we stub our toe or bang our elbow.
And now there’s scientific proof that spouting off obscene language every time we’re smacked with sudden discomfort is not only acceptable, it’s actually a natural pain reliever!
According to a recent British study published in the Journal of Pain and cited by Time Healthland, unleashing expletives can help ease physical pain.
Researchers at Keele University in the U.K. tested the pain tolerance of 71 college students by asking them to stick their hands in containers of ice-cold water. Half of the participants were allowed to use a curse word of their choice, while the other half was asked to use a non-offensive word. The groups then reversed roles.
The result: 73% of participants were able to keep their hand submerged in freezing water for longer—31 seconds on average—when they were allowed to repeat a swear word.
But the studied also showed that swearing is more effective as a short-term relief from pain when used in small doses. When researchers factored in participants’ swearing frequency in daily life, they found that people who don’t curse often received a greater benefit in pain reduction.
The lesson: if you’re going to swear, make it count.
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