News and culture through the lens of Southern California.
Hosted by
Arts & Entertainment

Let The F-bombs Drop: Science says swearing is good for you

A scene from
A scene from "Office Space."
Office Space

Listen to story

Download this story 2MB

If you work in an office, you're probably familiar with frustrating moments like these: The copier runs out of ink, the phone system goes haywire, or the printer jams.

Well, it turns out there's a good way to deal with that frustration: swearing. At least according to psychologists at England's Keele University, who found that expressing profane feelings is good for you.

They found that cursing is, "a harmless emotional release," and can make you feel stronger and more resilient.

"It's a coping mechanism...You build up sort of an arousal level with whatever that emotion you're feeling and then, when you release that by swearing, it vents that emotion, whatever that emotion is," said Dr. Timothy Jay, a psychologist and the author of the book, "Why We Curse." "From an evolutionary point of view, it's much better than resorting to some type of physical violence."

Dr. Jay says that as long as you're not harassing people, if you're just blowing off steam, swearing should be fine. He believes that cursing should alert management to possible stress issues for their employees.

"The workplace can't be governed by the person with the thinnest skin," said Dr. Jay. "I also think they should examine why people feel stressed on the job. I think in any case you need some type of recognition of what the standards are, how to deal with emotion in the workplace and I think also an acknowledgement that some jobs are a lot more stressful than others."