Researchers in England have discovered that swearing helps us cope with stress and pain. Say what?
Dr. Michelle Golland: So no wonder we moms are concerned about the amount of foul language we use in front of our children. Who is under more stress and yes, even in pain than a mom?! What group most needs to drop the F-bomb?
When we drop a sippy cup right on our toe and scream f@!*ck (my favorite profanity), it actually triggers our natural fight-or-flight stress response, which increases our pain tolerance. Let's face it -- a sippy cup right on the toe seriously hurts!
I knew that F@!*ck was my favorite profanity when my 2-year-old daughter, on a long driving trip with my mother, started to sing it over and over. Yes, imagine the most precious-faced little girl singing F@!*ck F@!*ck F@!*ckity F@!*ck! I quickly started to sing "duck duck duckity duck," which totally worked. I also desperately tried to stop saying it in front of her (loudly anyway).
The researchers also discovered that swearing is a hardwired response. It taps into the emotional brain centers and appears to arise in the right brain, whereas most language production occurs in the left cerebral hemisphere of the brain. Linguistic researchers have found colorful language dating back over 5,000 years. They also believe strong language was a part of the earliest forms of oral communication. I can just see the cave mommies grunting now!
It seems that swearing is used in anger management and is underappreciated as a way to blow off some steam when under stress. Another research team from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK, found that "Social" or "Annoyance" swearing can make the workplace more pleasurable and even strengthen bonds between employees.
This is why I have always liked the potty-mouthed mommies better because I felt more bonded with them if they also dropped the F-bomb when that cute little pink pacifier dropped on the dirty floor. We were actually bonding in our workplace!
Taboo language serves the needs of people maintaining and developing solidarity, and as a way to cope with stress. Swearing has replaced the primitive physical aggression that once may have been used as an effective relief mechanism. So rather than go back and punch the barista at Starbucks for screwing up your non-fat chai latte (again!), you can just say "Jesus" with a great robust emphasis on the "us" part (my other favorite bad mommy word).
My son is trying to help curb my profanity, mostly because I think he is embarrassed by it -- although I think he is secretly pleased that I too get in trouble for stuff. I am sure he will be telling his own therapists one day about his potty-mouthed psychologist mommy!
He recently told his sister to say "Cheezits" instead of the bad word Mom just blurted out (you know, "Jesus" with a heavy emphasis on "us"). I applauded him for his quick response to my inappropriate language as well as his creative rhyming skills. To the shock of the barista, I now do shout out "Cheezits" with a little smile when my latte is screwed up.
I will also bring in these studies to my son's future therapists, plead guilty, and break down in tears explaining that I was simply trying to relieve the stress of being a mom!
|Dr. Michelle Golland is a USC graduate and a licensed Clinical Psychologist (PSY#16974). She works with adults, teens and is an expert in the field of marriage and relationships. Dr. Michelle Golland has given her expert advice on CNN, HLN, MSNBC, ABC, and Fox news. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two wonderfully exhausting children.|