© 2015 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.
What’s profanity good for? Only for exploding in anger? Have you noticed people swearing more in the last few years? Do you often have the urge to use one of Those Words, when you’re very frustrated or angry? Well, you’re not alone.
Recently, I overheard one side of a phone conversation in which the F-word was used countless times. I was stuck working at the desk in my hotel room, and I had to work right there, so I heard the whole half-hour conversation, or that one side of it. Yes, it was like being hammered, but that’s not my theme. A man’s voice was shouting, um, excitedly.
Let’s say he was using the form, “fokn”, as he expressed himself to the person on the phone. He used the word as something of a spacer and amplifier. He used it right before each noun or verb. For example, “I fokn gave up my fokn relationship wid my fokn mutha to fokn be wid fokn you!” Since the entire remainder of the half hour was basically the same message, I wondered how “fokn” helped his message. Did he have a greater sense of power? Did he have the feeling that his message came from greater authority because he used the F-word for punctuation? Was he buying time by bulking up a very simple message, repeated many times?
Profanity is the weapon of the witless.
Would you believe that there have been hundreds of scientific papers on profanity in the last hundred years? Scientists have been using strong and taboo words in experiments to study the effects of emotions on things like attention and memory. I have read for years that the less we swear, the more it releases stress for us. The more frequently people use Those Words, the less release they get from talking that way. So people using more and more of Those Words in urban music and in late-night chat shows are actually taking the power out of Those Words as stress relievers. We need to save Those Words for rare occasions and allow them to release a punch of stress.
In addition to emotional relief, a 2009 neurology study showed that swearing can actually provide pain relief. Student volunteers were found to longer withstand the pain of icy water by swearing! So if you have pain, swear! Otherwise, the next time you feel your temper rising and your consciousness dropping to profanity, hold back. Save it for a really special occasion. Or never. Or only for when the hammer hits your thumb. And please let me know how your experience with Those Words evolves in months to come.
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- Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert. She also has a natural healing practice and is an ordained minister. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You (http://tinyurl.com/b44v3br), plus the 2013 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core, Second Edition(http://tinyurl.com/mqg3uvc ). Her newest book is Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine, available through her office. Just email SacredMeditation@kebba.com.
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