The other night I was watching my favorite freak show Oddities with one eye and doing five different things with the other. Then I heard something that made me pay attention. Seems there was an actual scientific study done on the effect of swearing loudly and sensory pain perception. It made me giggle, but I wanted to know more so looked into it. Seems to be yes, swearing does indeed increase a person's pain threshold, according to a study done at Keele University School of Psychology*. What's even funnier is they discovered this information while attempting to prove the opposite. That swearing contributes to the intensity of pain and emotional distress.
Now this is not new news, in fact this information is a few years old. I found myself a bit irritated I was just learning I could control my pain with the F word. That knowledge would have been very valuable over the last few years. But I know it now so I set out to understand why. Scientific controls and hypothesis and double-blind aside I used nothing more than intuition and common sense. Could it be related to endorphins? The rush a person feels when doing something they shouldn't? An evolutionary gift from our forefathers allowing us to feel good for a moment, but not too long, lest we get lazy and eaten by a saber tooth tiger?
Then I remembered the day fondly when taking calculated risks wasn't that big of a deal. If I drank too much the night before I could sleep it off with Advil the next day. If I ate three pieces of birthday cake my stomach ache would dilute in a liter of water within a few hours. For goodness sake I was a smoker in my youth! But simple negligence in the past is a massive disruption to any sort of order in my present. I already have so many freakin' problems there is no way in hell I could handle any I actually choose to inflict on myself. Ahhh, the joy of aging, the joy of illness. But I do have to say this experience did leave me better off. I decided to test my own hypothesis. So I went out and had a few beers, and as I screamed expletives over the noisy bar I had more fun than I'd had in a while. And I remembered the joy of not always being prudent. And really didn't feel much pain at all.
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