6 Ways To Stop Cursing So Much (Because You’re Not A Sailor)

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Few things are more satisfying and cathartic than dropping an expletive at an appropriate time.

There are occasions where only a swear word can truly express the soulful emotion you’re presently experiencing.

Whether you’ve stubbed your toe or accidentally dropped the stuff you were carrying, it’s almost therapeutic to let a cuss word fly.

Similarly, a choice swear word can feel right in positive circumstances, too, when you want to rejoice in a good thing.

Casual cursing as a way to vent or in conversation can create a bad habit, though. The problem is that your filter for socially acceptable words suffers when you regularly swear.

You don’t want to drop an F-bomb in front of the wrong company because it can create the wrong impression. That person may be okay with swearing in a casual sense but may deem it inappropriate for the situation you’re currently in.

Workplaces can be hit or miss with casual cursing. One workplace may be an anything goes environment where people are cutting up and bantering all day. Years in that environment will condition you to swear casually, which you don’t want if you find yourself in a different job where they are more strict.

The other problem with casual swearing is that it fosters laziness of expression. Cuss words that are used too often can become a vague descriptor of what you’re talking about. That stifles your ability to communicate with other people in a meaningful, effective way.

Does that seem like nonsense to you?

Or does it seem like an unreasonable conclusion of the regular use of cuss words?

This bad habit can be corrected. So, let’s look at some ways to reduce your casual swearing.

1. What’s your reason to stop swearing?

Anyone trying to make a significant change to their habits can benefit from having a solid, clearly articulated reason for making the change.

A reason serves as your North Star; it helps you stay on track when you get frustrated or angry.

And you probably will, after you’ve been doing well with not casually cursing and accidentally let one fly when you slam your finger in a cabinet door because you weren’t paying attention.

So, what’s your reason? “I want to stop casually swearing because…”

“…I don’t want to get written up at work.”

“…I want to communicate better with other people.”

“…my sweet old grandma gives me that sad, disappointed look when I do.”

“…the toddler heard me and told everyone at the grocery store the new word they learned.”

2. Identify when you swear.

When do you casually swear? Is it an all the time, utterly casual thing? Is it just when you’re angry or upset? Is it in the gym or when you’re doing something strenuous? Is it at the workplace where that’s just the natural environment?

Identifying when you swear can help you curb the habit by planning ahead.

A person who swears mostly at work can remind themselves to be more mindful of their words when they’re clocking in.

Impulsive swearing because of anger can be curbed by taking a few seconds to calm down and clear your mind before you respond to a situation.

Just adding ten seconds between the initial flash of emotion and a response will do wonders for control over what you say and do when angry. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it works for many people if you make it a habit.

3. The Ol’ Swear Jar

You most likely have heard of the ol’ swear jar. Generations of people have curbed their swearing with the use of a swear jar.

It’s simple and effective. Put a dollar in the jar every time you swear. After a predetermined amount of time where you have successfully held back on swearing, take the money in the jar, and do something to reward yourself with it.

Why does this work? The simplicity of the methodology behind the swear jar masks the functionality…

Casually swearing is a bad habit. And habits are things we do without thought or consideration because they are just the things we do. We don’t generally consciously think about our habits while doing them. We just do them.

A swear jar interrupts that process by imposing a penalty on you for not considering your habit and actions.

It’s much harder to casually swear when you’re actively thinking about the fact that you’ll need to pony up another dollar for the jar if you do.

The swear jar creates space for you to make a better decision and choose different words to express yourself.

And then, when you’ve succeeded at not swearing for a while, you can activate the reward center of the brain with that sweet, sweet cash that you earned back by not cursing.

4. Get an accountability partner.

Making changes to yourself and your life is much easier when working at it with someone else.

Is there anyone in your life who would be willing to be an accountability partner or even curb their swearing with you?

Having another person mention when you slip up can help draw your attention to the bad habit’s action and force you to think before you speak in the future.

Partnering up with someone else who also wants to stop cursing so much is incredibly helpful. They will share the same frustrations and annoyances that you do when they accidentally swear.

That kind of understanding can help you both be more forgiving of your shortcomings and get right back to it when you casually curse.

5. Replace or make up some words.

Replacing cursing with words that others will not find offensive is a better habit to have.

Heck, fudge, shoot, and darn it may not have the same punch and pizzazz of actual curse words, but they are guaranteed to not offend anyone or cause additional problems.

Using these softer words may feel silly at first, but you’ll get through the awkwardness with regular effort. After all, it’s far less awkward than letting a cuss word slip in front of the boss’s boss while you’re at work.

And suppose you’re the creative or eclectic type. In that case, you may want to create your own words to use as replacements or embrace something a little more ridiculous – like shish kebabs instead of sh*t or dagnabbit instead of damn.

6. Save the swears for appropriate times.

You don’t have to swear off cursing completely. Sometimes swearing is appropriate and expected. It can help get yourself pumped up when you’re in the gym or about to exercise.

Maybe a little blue language will help you connect with someone with a rougher personality type. And sometimes there’s just no better word than the F-word to express your anger and frustration.

That’s okay. You don’t have to be perfect or never swear again. Just work at reducing the casual cursing, and you’ll be able to avoid many social blunders and express yourself clearly.

Habits are hard to change, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get it right immediately. Stick with it, and you can change that habit.

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About The Author

Jack Nollan is a person who has lived with Bipolar Disorder and Bipolar-depression for almost 30 years now. Jack is a mental health writer of 10 years who pairs lived experience with evidence-based information to provide perspective from the side of the mental health consumer. With hands-on experience as the facilitator of a mental health support group, Jack has a firm grasp of the wide range of struggles people face when their mind is not in the healthiest of places. Jack is an activist who is passionate about helping disadvantaged people find a better path.