This isn't surprising news, necessarily, but it's nice to see research bears it out: if your reaction to a breakup or personal offense is to unleash a string of profanity, that's a decent form of self-therapy.
Researchers in New Zealand have found that people in a state of "social distress" who vent through an f-bomb or two feel less psychological distress than people who keep it G-rated. This finding meshes well with previous research that unleashing a string of invective can alleviate physical pain.
Researcher Dr Michael Philipp, writing in the European Journal of Social Psychology, stated that there is a reason yelling swear words helps both the body and the mind:
"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.
"Previous research suggests that social stressors, like rejection and ostracism, not only feel painful but also increase peoples' sensitivity to physical pain," he says. "Pain Overlap Theory suggests that social distress feels painful because both social and physical pain is biologically coupled. Pain overlap theory predicts that anything affecting physical pain should have similar effects on social pain."
What's the secret sauce in a well-timed "fuck!" then? Distraction. If you unload every four-letter-word you know, your mind is distracted and physical pain is diffused.
Hey, the usual rules of social decorum still apply—watch it in church or even at work if you have to—but otherwise, looks like it's a great time to have a dirty mouth.
h/t Daily News