Why Swearing Like A Sailor Might Help You Open That Damn Jar

Photographed by Jens Ingvarsson.
If you're especially prone to swearing, we have good news: your potty mouth may be beneficial in a pretty unexpected way. According to some new research, swearing might actually make you stronger. The Guardian reports that the research, presented at the British Psychological Society, found that letting the expletives fly while performing a physical activity can increase your strength.
On Thursday, the BPS released data from two separate studies that looked at the benefits of swearing. The first study examined participants who cycled on an exercise bike, finding that if they cursed out loud, they began producing more power than when they stayed silent. In fact, their peak power rose by 24 watts on average.
In the second study, a different group of people were tested on their handgrip strength, during which they showed greater strength after cursing.
"In the short period of time we looked at there are benefits from swearing," Richard Stephens, a psychologist who presented the results said, according to The Guardian.
Dr. Stephens recruited 29 people aged about 21 for the cycling test, and 52 people with an average age of 19 for the hand-grip test. Participants were asked to choose a swear word to repeat in the experiments, as well as a neutral word — one for which they were asked to describe a table, such as "wooden" or "brown."
The researchers said in a press release that the results aren't all that surprising (especially to those of us who love to swear).
"We know from our earlier research that swearing makes people more able to tolerate pain," Stephens said. "A possible reason for this is that it stimulates the body's sympathetic nervous system — that's the system that makes your heart pound when you are in danger. If that is the reason, we would expect swearing to make people stronger too — and that is just what we found in these experiments."
Though more research needs to be done to determine exactly what it is that makes swearing have such an effect on us, it might be that swearing activates your fight-or-flight instinct.
So the next time running a tight-lidded jar under hot water doesn't seem to do the trick, go ahead and let a few profanities fly — it's worth a shot.
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