Swear Words!  Damn!!

Swear words are both expressions of negative emotions and inroads to experiencing negative emotions. Swear words, used to be descriptive or as emphasis in speech, are oftentimes an expression of some level of personal hostility for one’s self. Can’t you just swear because you just want to make a point or for emphasis or color?

Sure, sometimes a swear word says it like nothing else can, with exactly the same emphasis and good feeling. But you have to be good at it and you have to know when to use it. Ask any comedian. It bears repeating: swear words are swear words because they express hostility, usually grounded in hostility towards one’s own self.

In studies done at Harvard University in neuroscience, we know that whenever a person uses a swear word, it arouses the amygdala of the old brain, the place of strong negative emotions. When we read a swear word it arouses the basal ganglia, which among other things establishes our habits.

Our swear words make up a good deal of our own inner self-talk. We most use our swear words inside our own heads about ourselves. If anyone on the outside talked to us like we talk to ourselves, we would battle with them. We would be angry with them. We’d probably not talk to them, if they talk to us like we talk to ourselves inside our heads.

I am fascinated by the swear words people use and identify with because usually, they are the same words they use when they are angry or disappointed with themselves. We say horrible things to ourselves inside our heads.

Talk to yourself like you would like others to talk to you. Talk to yourself in the kindest, most gentle and forgiving way you talk to others.

I am a good and loving person, I care, and I love myself. Or (your name) I thank you, (your name) I respect you, (your name) I love you.

Do it over and over and over and over and your amygdala (that place of negative emotion in your brain) will shrink because it’s less active!

About the author

Dr. William K. Larkin

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute