How many of us have ever felt like screaming vulgarities at work, or maybe even at our boss? How about that desire to dump your coke on that fool that cut in front of you picking up his turkey-burger? Or when that guy stepped on your $865 dollar Manolo Blahniks and never even said, “oops!” I’ll bet you wished you could have poured your no-fat, extra shot latté on his head and heal the damage to your precious shoes!
“Why use profanity in real life and writing? Because sometimes ‘darn it’ just doesn’t cut it.”
Swearing Reduces Stress
Rather than going down the serial killer fantasy path, there really is a better choice. That choice for some people is swearing. I know, mom said that a foul mouth was a sign of a foul mind, and besides, won’t the target of your vulgarities just knock you in the head? To give you some relief, did you know that there are ways to swear tactfully?
Swearwords Reduce Pain
One study was conducted on the subject and it involved student volunteers putting their hands in a bucket of ice and they were then instructed to swear repeatedly. Another group of students were instructed not to swear. The results showed that swearing had an anesthetizing effect on the “iced” study group that was four times stronger than the study group that was asked to refrain from cursing. Face it; cursing (or swearing as your mom called it) has been going on for centuries and is almost universal in all languages. Imagine fighting with swords and no curse words.
Swearing and Solidarity
A study from about 12 years ago discovered that workers were cursing as a group in the selected test factory, and that their swearing was helping build solidarity in the group. You see, since cursing helps to mange emotions, in certain situations there are positive aspects to that verbal activity your mom told you to always avoid. The anecdotal evidence is so compelling that more studies are being done on that very subject.
Swearing Works When You Do It Right
Swear words work in lots of different situations. Used occasionally on stage, they get a laugh, use them too much and nothing happens. If you use them in novel or striking situations, people find the shock value funny. Over use them and people will rightfully think you a bore, or rude. If you mange your language correctly, you can change negative emotions or feelings to positive ones with the judicious use of indelicate words.
Meditate On the Word “Fuck”
Most people think of “opening their mind” when they think of meditation. The image of freeing their mind of clutter doesn’t usually include swear words. It can be a serene, peace-filled activity, so why not add a curse word or two to make it even more unpretentious? That’s exactly what Jason Headley did. With a tranquil and calming voice, Jason gave his wife encouragement with a few expletives mixed in. They thought it was funny and discovered that it was the best way for them to reduce their stress. Jason created a video called “F*ck That: An Honest Meditation” and it has been an instant hit. It went went viral when 6.5 million viewers watched it asking for more of what was intended to be a joke post. It is so popular that Headley is publishing a book with the same name.
Rage Yoga: It’s Unpretentious as Hell
The idea of rage yoga is to transform your negative emotions into positive emotions by using expletives in the right way and in the right environment. For example, rage yoga classes start with a calm moment of telling the students to “let go of the sh*t-storm of their day.” Swearing clearly loosens and opens up the participants. Istace, the founder of rage yoga, got the idea of this form of yoga to help you let off steam by using expletives. What started off as a joke with her friends became a hit and something that people connect with. While both Headley’s and Istace’s notions started out as a laugh, they resonate with people and are going mainstream.
So, when you want to make a point and change the tone in the room, you might consider the careful and focused use of a curse word or two. It can make all the difference in the world.
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Frank Hopkins is a certified Professional Coach (CPC) by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). He is a certified Master Practitioner (ELI-MP) of the iPEC proprietary assessment tool, the Energy Leadership Index and offers seminars on Energy Leadership. He maintains memberships in the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and the Institute of Coaching (ICPA).