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Let’s be clear (and especially for any children reading this). Swearing and bad language aren’t big, and neither are they clever. But by God, they can feel good if used in the right situation. Like when you hurt yourself, for instance.

I’d always suspected as much but had never thought of curse words as health therapy – until now, that is. Why? Because I’ve just spotted a story about Keele University scientists who claim swearing could make you more tolerant to pain.

The researchers took a bunch of students and subjected them to the pain of ice cold water (to be precise, they had to keep their hands in a bucket of icy water for as long as possible). In the first test they told the students to curse repeatedly while dipping their hands into the water. Then they repeated the test, but this time the students had to utter different, non-curse words.

Anyone who’s fond of the odd outburst of foul language won’t be surprised by the results of their tests. When the students swore, they found they were able to keep their hands in the icy water for longer. Swearing, they say, triggers both an emotional as well as a physical response. Interestingly, one of the study’s researchers, Dr Richard Stephens, claims swearing activates part of the right brain. That’s surprising because language production is more ordinarily linked with the left brain.

So did we learn to swear in order to have higher pain thresholds? Could swearing be developed into a pain-relief therapy? What a thought. Lots of arthritis sufferers, for instance, having a good old curse to gain some relief from their joint pain.

I kinda like the idea, actually. So next time you stub your toe, feel free to let rip. I really does make you feel better.