The colourful side to dark language

Around 0.7% of the average persons speech each day is a swear word. It may not sound like a lot, but that’s the same amount that iStock_000005890367Mediumpronouns, such as me, we and I are used. So why are words that are used this often so socially stigmatised? Maybe it’s time to up the ante when it comes to using the more colourful side of our vocabulary.

It may come as a shock, but letting swear words fly out occasionally may be beneficial to both your health and, surprisingly, your working relationships. It might sound strange, but the language we use has more benefits to us than just aiding communication. Swearing, at its base level, is emotional language – and we can all benefit from releasing our emotions from time to time! Research has shown that some stress is good for us: it helps us perform at optimum levels, and scientists believe that releasing stress in the form of profanities can increase endorphin levels and subsequently lower your blood pressure.

Now I’m not telling you to go and shout expletives around the office – cussing at all minor inconveniences won’t make the best impression – but showing your passion through colourful language can encourage a team spirit. It’s a common perception that swear words cause more tension than togetherness, but the use of profanities can signal intimacy and friendship, and so can build rapport among colleagues.

The sporadic swear may also improve your leadership skills, with studies showing that swearing (in certain contexts!) can make people seem more persuasive and intense. In a study of court cases, it was also found that when a person swore, it made them appear more credible and passionate, meaning that the jury was more likely to sway their side. The President of the United States swore in an interview with the Today Show when talking about the BP Oil Spill in 2010 – the public perception to this was unanimously positive!

Again, I’m not encouraging you to reel off every swear word you know, but next time you feel that red mist descending, try releasing the more colourful range in your vocabulary… it could be good for you!


DISCLAIMER: Certain contexts call for certain behaviours. Always be careful and test the waters before you dive in. The occasional swear word can show passion, a barrage might not be so accepted!


Ella Keating, ICE Creates Ltd ( / 0845 5193 423)



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