Mind

Swearing can help heal a broken heart, Kiwi study finds

The healing powers of a potty mouth have been overlooked, until now.

Letting off steam with a torrent of well-chosen swear words feels great, and now science backs up what we’ve pretty much always suspected: swearing is good for you.
Researchers at Massey University have found dropping an F-bomb (or three) when you’re feeling particularly wound-up can actually help reduce feelings of emotional distress - whether that's caused by a lovers' tiff or or being excluded from a social situation.
While earlier studies have shown how swearing can alleviate short term physical pain, scientists now claim cursing can help with other sorts of hurt too.
This latest study looked at the emotional responses of 70 participants who were asked to recall a time they felt distressed or socially excluded, and to write it down.
The control group was then split into two, with one group asked to repeat a neutral word, and the other a swear word for two minutes.
The group that had been given licence to have it during the test reported lowered stress levels, than those who hadn’t been allowed to swear at all.
Lead author Dr Michael Philipp explained that not only did swearing help alleviate painful emotions, it could also reduce sensitivity to physical pain.
“The results suggest that socially distressed participants who swore out loud experienced less social pain than those who did not,” says Dr Philipp. They also experienced less sensitivity to physical pain.”
“The findings suggest that social and physical pain are functionally similar and that swearing attenuates social pain.”
But before you go thinking it’s perfectly fine to kick off where ever and whenever, there’s a caveat.
Swearing every day, or in mildly irritating situations could weaken the power of profanity – which basically means to get maximum bang for your swearing buck, don't drop those clangers, unless you really have to.
“There is still speculation about why swearing aloud has the effect it does on physical pain and social pain. What’s clear is that swearing is not a completely maladaptive reaction to a sore thumb or a broken heart.”