The Power of Swearing

This article is part of the series The Power Of that looks into many aspects of life and how they can be powerful in helping with individual management & maintenance of mental health.

Warning - This is a post about swearing intended to educate, without resorting to use of swearing, even though the author was incredibly tempted to do so

The Power Of Swearing

This really should be a short post that, for those of you reading that are against the use of emotive language including swear words, also known as use of profanity, should perhaps read on and have a rethink, and you know perhaps give swearing a go and see how you feel afterwards, as I can tell you now, you’ll feel better for it.

Why is Swearing is good for you?

Fundamentally this is because the use of strong emotive language, invokes a frequency from our voices that helps clear built up stresses from our system. That is a very simplistic way to describe it though, and one that most people should be able to understand. There is far more to it than just that& if you want to read more then read this research that’s been published on Research Gate - The power of swearing: What we know and what we don’t

Take this stressful scenario for example

Parents having looked after their children who have been incredibly naughty or playing up that day.

or this one which I know many will relate to

A long hard day where everything seems to keep going wrong

or this one

A day where people just kept pushing your buttons, actively dismissed everything you said and basically made you feel terrible for even turning up that day

In these scenarios there are lots of different ways for the stresses incurred from that day to be released as opposed to held onto. However, some of these are unhealthy if used excessively (smoking/vaping or drinking alcohol being the two most commonly over used stress relievers - neither of which I personally could ever suggest to others of adult age not to undertake in, nor should I or should you either, but I do expect that they already know and understand the risks involved and still choose to do so, with informed consent, though this isn’t always the case but they are still adults and made a choice), whereas swearing is something that is not know to be unhealthy even when used excessively. It also has many known and hidden health benefits. Those of us that use these words regularly know this to be true and use them in order to help us maintain a good balance to our management of our #MentalHealth, instead of allowing too much to build up too quickly in short spaces of time. This is one reason why I will often mute and turn or move away from any remote meeting, as not to unnecessarily derail a conversation by the shock impact its use brings, even when realistically this may actually be needed at the time. Or put on songs which have lots of swearing in them as this is known by Metalheads and plenty of others that listen to incredibly emotive songs will tell you, irrespective of the language that they speak.

If you do a simple search for the term Power of Swearing in your web search engine of choice (myself I use bing) and see what results you get for it you’ll likely get articles like those on BBC Future - The Surprising Benefits of Swearing or BBC Worklife - Can Swearing make you more relaxed? as well as Herald Scotland - The surprising power of Swearing or also The Conversation - The power of swearing: how obscene words influence your mind, body and relationships. These are just some articles that you can find on this, much like this one.

Closing comments

Swearing is something we’ve done in one form or another across every single spoken language, including more simpler language features like grunting.

Next time you feel stressed and are on your own, or around others that aren’t still trying to limit us from our full vocabulary and use of emotive language, to which I’d politely ask them to stop telling adults what we cannot do, and instead move to asking us not to around them. If this fails then I’d happily invite them to either read or listen to the chorus of Rage Against The Machine - Killing in the Name / provide them with a list of quite sweary songs to investigate if they so desired.

Whilst this article is in favour of people using swear words when they see fit, as the author of it I should also point out that it is possible that the use of swear words, in some people, can cause actual physical harm, due to the frequencies that they can produce, which is why in spoken use, they should be kept for use in settings where there is already an agreement in place that allows for their use. In written form they can also be then read out by accessibility reading software, however this should be able to be reasonably configured with the option for automatic replacements of these words. There are already browser extensions that can do this today. So this is not something that is impossible to do.

I think this is enough for this post, I appreciate feedback & you can leave some via the comments section below or via this form if you want to give it to me directly and not publicly, whether anonymously or not.

I’m Ryan ( twitter | blog ) a successful IT Consultant & the founder of mhasl and Mental Health Affects Someone Like Me