Holy @$*@! The pain-killing power of swearing

Holy @$*@! The pain-killing power of swearing

Some people are more likely to admit this than others. But whether you admit it or not, you know you have one: a favorite swear—that go-to word that instinctively comes to your mind (or out of your mouth) the instant you stub your toe or jam your finger.

You probably just thought it was a bad habit, but I’m happy to report to you that the string of expletives that can let loose in response to sudden, unexpected pain is your body’s way of natural pain relief.

Researchers at Keele University in the UK (where else would you expect to find a study on the benefits of swearing?) conducted an experiment with student volunteers. The students submerged their arms into a bucket of ice-cold water while repeating a swear word. Then they did the experiment a second time, this time uttering a G-rated word instead.

In the end, the students were able to keep their arms in the icy water longer when they were releasing the R-rated painkillers. This was especially true for those who didn’t swear on a regular basis—they were four times more likely to experience pain relief.

The researchers think that the cursing/pain-relief link could be due to the fact that swearing is an act of aggression and can trigger your fight-or-flight instincts, which increases your pain tolerance.

But whatever your choice words are, just be careful not to overuse them. The researchers also found that if you make a habit of dropping F-bombs, your body will likely be numb to its potential pain-relieving benefits.