Do you feel guilty about swearing, especially when in pain? Take heart, as according to a study swearing aloud may increase pain tolerance as well as make you strong.
“We know from our earlier research that swearing makes people more able to tolerate pain. 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,” Richard Stephens from Keele University in England.
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“If that is the reason, we would expect swearing to make people stronger too — and that is just what we found in these experiments,” Stephens added.
For the study, presented at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society in Brighton, the team conducted two experiments.
In the first, 29 participants completed a test of anaerobic power — a short, intense period on an exercise bike — after both swearing and not swearing.
In the second, 52 participants completed an isometric handgrip test, again after both swearing and not swearing.
The results showed that the participants produced more power if they had sworn in the first experiment and a stronger handgrip if they had sworn in the second.
“But why it is that swearing has these effects on strength and pain tolerance remains to be discovered. We have yet to understand the power of swearing fully,” Stephens said.