Cursing is beneficial in the right situations



We are taught from a very young age to speak politely, to talk to others the way we want to be talked to and to never use vulgar language in formal settings.

All these are positive life lessons instilled in most of us by our parents, and for good reason. Dropping the “F-bomb” in the middle of a job interview or when meeting your significant others parents for the first time probably won’t get one very far in life.

But for those informal settings, or when life is just not panning out in the way we’d hoped, almost nothing is more soothing than letting out a cathartic expletive.

Last year psychologist Richard Stephens of Keele University in England led a study that measured the effects of cursing in relation to relieving pain and other emotions.

During one part of the study, 67 student volunteers submerged their hands in icy water and were encouraged to either yell expletives or neutral non-curse words. The results showed that the students were able to keep their hands submerged on average 40 seconds longer when they were yelling profanities, and reported less severe levels of pain.

“I would advise people, if they hurt themselves, to swear,” said Stephens in the study.

His research, among other things, suggested that cursing can make an individual feel stronger and handle pain better, can serve as a great coping mechanism, helps form closer bonds with other people and can help emphasize a point when used properly.

Of course, as stated earlier, cursing must be done in the right situation. Cursing during a religious service, when speaking to a superior at work or in the presence of children should probably be avoided.

But stubbing one’s toe on the coffee table while getting ready for work, missing a layup during a pickup basketball game or receiving a failing grade on an exam are all great excuses to let the profanity fly.

And cursing can certainly help get one’s point across. Veteran San Francisco patrol officer Adam Platinga recently published a book titled “400 Things Cops Know.” Among them was that a well-placed curse word can be very useful when dealing with suspects. He writes that yelling out “get on the ground” versus “get on the f–––ing ground” can make all the difference in whether or not the suspect listens.

So when students go to class this semester, they should make sure to always use the most respectful language possible when speaking in class or talking to the professor. But, as soon as class is dismissed and students are out of the door, let the mouth say what the mind is thinking.

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