Question: The Productive Benefits of Having a Foul Mouth

My face normally after a prolonged swearing session.

My face normally after a prolonged swearing session.

For many that know me, this will come as no surprise.

I’ve a bit of a foul mouth. The air around me is constantly blue & I am often berated by my family because of my (somewhat) crass vocabulary; especially if I am close to a deadline or generally whilst I am working. My offhand comments can rival that of a feudal, enraged Fishwife (Sorry, not sorry!).

I make no apologies for it, in fact; I am here to tell you that sometimes it can actually be a productive benefit, to be a little brash to get you, & keep you working.

So, get ready to feel a little less guilty to curse out loud if you need to.

So, Why am I Encouraging You to Swear?

First of all, I am not encouraging you to use profanity in place of regular words, for this idea to work, other words (are generally) desired.

The initial response for many who think swearing is a little uncouth is “that is isn’t big or clever”, but they may be fundamentally wrong, understanding and using swear words is part of your early language development language development (it’s not just “good” words that can help you articulate yourself). Research shows that children can start swearing from the age (some, even younger) and generally we can be found swearing about 0.5 to 0.7% of the time. So it’s a part of our lexicon, so those who may be offended, should just sit down.

How Does this Actually help?

Swearing can have powerful psychological effects.
When a person swears, they can boost circulation, elevate your levels of endorphins, whilst giving you an overall sense of calm, control; improving your wellbeing. Another thing I love about swearing is that it is a GREAT pain reliever. A study conducted at Keele University found that those succumbing to all the swears were able to hold their hands in iced water twice as long as their less sweary counterparts. So when you stub your toe, swear. it WILL help with the pain (even if it is at three’o’clock in the morning.

Swearing - Methodical.png

When it comes to working & productivity, swearing also gives you a greater sense of control and/or power over unfavourable situations.
When we swear, we can show, (even if you are just cursing your laptop), that we are empowered enough react and fight back.

We all know that feeling, when an excel formula refuses to work for some (or for me at least) it can become a battle of wills that I will not lose!

This boosts your confidence and helps mobilise your to take corrective steps to complete the task at hand. When I did a bit of sweary research (I am afraid I found some shocking new epithets to add to my vulgar vocabulary) I found this wonderful quote from Mark Twain, (a famously productive person), "When angry, count to four; when very angry, swear."

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Why you You Should embrace your Foul Mouth?

Swearing, I have found is actually a sign of emotional intelligence, rather than throwing your laptop out of the window when it refuses to cooperate, swearing at it can have the same cathartic effect. It also highlights that you are able to use words to communicate your frustrations, rather than you fists. Similarly, if and/or when you swear amongst your peers, it can also signal that we are open, honest & relax within ourselves. This helps you to effectively get your point across, making you personable & persuasive.

The act of swearing also actually occupies a different area of the brain than the rest of your vocabulary. Most language is located in the cortex & specific language areas in the left hemisphere of your brain and psychologist, Richard Stephens, suggests that your use of “colourful“ language may be found in a much older & more primitive area of the brain, responsible for, most notably singing.


So, while it may not be for everyone, I definitely find catharsis & therefore productivity from letting off a bit of verbal steam.
The key is to not swear with wild abandon; try using these words sparingly & trying not to get angry at the same time, which may not make you feel better.

I am not, by any means encouraging you all to start mouthing off to clients, senior colleagues & friends in conversation; but if it can relieve the pain of a stubbed toe, why not spill a few profanities when dealing with a laptop that refuses to do what it’s told.

You’ll certainly feel better, at least!