Swearing: Is it good for your health? - FOX 13 News

Swearing: Is it good for your health?

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(Rebecca Barray/Flickr) (Rebecca Barray/Flickr)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Swearing can actually be good for your health, according to a study published by NeuroReport.

Under certain circumstances, cursing can alleviate stress and pain.

The study measured how long students could put up with pain while keeping their hands in extremely cold water. When students were able to use curse words, they endured the pain for a longer amount of time. Students who used words like "shoot" did not perform as well.

Apparently when a person curses, adrenaline surges through the body.

"Swearing increases the heart rate and sets off the body's flight-or-fight response," said Psychologist Richard Stephens of Keele University in the United Kingdom.

Fight-or-flight increases the heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate, ultimately boosting pain tolerance.

However, for people who swear all the time, the method may not work as well.

"Clearly, the use of taboo words can generate both discomfort as well as positive release. The key is to choose your words and moments carefully," says Dr. Joanne May, Director of Outpatient Behavioral Health Services at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. "If your goal is to promote a positive release for yourself or the group that you are with, choose a nuanced context and do so, infrequently."

"The emotional effects of the curse words become less effective if they are used repeatedly over time. So, make sure to use profanities very sparingly and only when you feel it is appropriate," Dr. May added.

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