Does Swearing Actually Help You Complete a Stressful Task?
Putting things together has never been easy for me. I would say other than cooking my abilities to assemble almost anything would fall into the “needs improvement” category. That’s why when we purchase things, like furniture, for the house I prefer to have them pre-assembled and if available set up, turned on, and the old item hauled away.
Unfortunately, the person in charge of securing those kinds of items in our home is less about ease of setup and use and more about the cost savings in shipping and labor.
That brings us to the shelving unit I was asked to put together this past weekend. I had purposely avoided being anywhere near that item for several days but alas, I was caught. So, this past Saturday I tore open the big box and pulled out all the pieces of the shelving unit that “required some assembly”.
This particular item was obviously procured via some internet site, maybe in a foreign land like Poughkeepsie, and shipped to our home to be assembled by the most underqualified human being in the history of mankind. I am not very tactful nor am I tactile. I am not good at putting things together. And when I do, I develop an attitude.
I am also lefthanded which always draws a chorus of boos from all of the “mighty righties” in the audience. I am telling you, there is a lot of truth to the lefthanders “waking up dead faster than their righthanded counterparts' theory”. Life is frustrating when you’re reaching for the brass ring from the wrong side.
But enough about that whine. During the course of construction of this piece of shipped furniture, I guess my temper got the best of me and I might have uttered a few words that would make even the heartiest of seafaring men crimson with embarrassment.
Any time that kind of language escapes my lips I usually get “a talking to.” I understand why. I am not totally uncouth I realize that blue language is distasteful and often hateful and condescending. But golly gosh does it make a person feel better when “Tab A doesn’t want to fit into Slot B”.
That got me thinking, I am not the only person who curses during home projects. I wonder if it is in our DNA as males of the species and if there were any redeeming qualities to the practice. Look, swearing out loud would still be distasteful but at least I could play the science card as an excuse if the data backed up my argument.
Does Cursing or Swearing While Performing a Difficult Task Enhance a Person’s Ability to Complete That Task Successfully?
The short answer to that query is simply yes. Yes, swearing while performing a tough or stressful task can actually improve your chances of completing the task at hand. Obviously, there are a few variables you have to include in your scenario to make this not only a physiological win but keep you from committing a social faux pas that your reputation couldn’t outlive.
Are there Benefits to Swearing During a Stressful Situation?
On the physical side of the spectrum, the release of curse words or basically any loud sound seems to trigger the body’s fight or flight mechanism. That process pushes more adrenaline into the bloodstream and raises our ability to tolerate pain. Even the pain of lag bolt R not fitting properly into hex nut L on side piece M.
Is There an Emotional Benefit that Comes with Swearing?
Emotionally, no it’s not like Popeye wolfing down a can of spinach but it is cleansing and cathartic for your mental state to let a few F-bombs fly. The aftermath of the meltdown usually creates a more clarified mind and a better ability to focus.
Where Else Can I Play the Science Card When I Accidentally Curse?
So, we know using a few “spicy words” as “SpongeBob would say” included in your projects aren’t such a bad thing but how about when you’re exercising?
Does This Work for Runners, Joggers, Cross-Fitters, and Gravy Lovers Too?
Why yes, cursing during training and I am going to assume consuming gravy, will allow your body to become physically stronger. It might get you disconnected from Peloton or even mentioned on your neighborhood’s Facebook page but a few timed swear words will help you get over the hump during your workout. Again, it’s the adrenaline thing.
Do They Make a Swear Colored Ribbon?
Well, this is going to sound a bit odd but I did some research and I actually talked to a few cancer survivors I know, and yes, swearing can be quite beneficial in battling illnesses like cancer. Often times when a patient takes an aggressive attitude and goes more into “fight” versus “flight” those emotions amp up the body’s ability to heal and take care of itself. It can also be a great emotional boost for patients who by all rights should be frustrated, angry, and did I mention frustrated?
So, what have we learned?
Swearing in a stressful situation can make that situation better. However, it is best to evaluate the situation to see if swearing at all would be offensive and inappropriate. Swearing while frustrated is a natural process the body has to deal with stressful situations. Many people find cursing as a great intellectual way to overcome or increase the endurance to physical pain. And finally, those t-shirts that say F-Cancer, made somebody feel better.
So, the next time your significant other has an issue with your salty and tasteless choice of words you can always quote this article and just explain that you are trying to be healthy. Or, you can swallow those feelings and burp up a heart attack in a couple of years. No, you don’t get to pick which one.