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Swear Away Pain

According to Dered Flanzraich of Team Buffer, who published an article way back in 2014 yet it’s still applicable today, swearing can help you tolerate pain.  He encourages us to, “Swear a metric ton. Strange as it may sound, researchers explored whether swearing when in pain improved pain tolerance. It actually benefited some of the subjects — largely because it induced the “fight or flight” instinct and accompanying physical reactions. Channel your anger into positive goals like reaching new personal records in the gym, but don’t assume it’s healthier to have a potty mouth. A follow-up examination revealed that the more you curse, the smaller the effect it has in reducing pain.

Another posting on pubmed by Richard Stephens, John Atkins and Andrew Kingston, seems to support this idea.  There “…study investigated whether swearing affects cold-pressor pain tolerance (the ability to withstand immersing the hand in icy water), pain perception and heart rate. In a repeated measures design, pain outcomes were assessed in participants asked to repeat a swear word versus a neutral word. In addition, sex differences and the roles of pain catastrophising, fear of pain and trait anxiety were explored. Swearing increased pain tolerance, increased heart rate and decreased perceived pain compared with not swearing.  The observed pain-lessening (hypoalgesic) effect may occur because swearing induces a fight-or-flight response and nullifies the link between fear of pain and pain perception.

There are several resources online if you want to pursue this line of thinking.


Complied by the ITG Editorial Staff

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