10 Hardest Habits to Break

Swearing may be funny on TV but it's often not so funny in real life. karenfoleyphotography/iStock/Thinkstock

When a character starts swearing on TV or in a movie, it can be pretty funny. But it's often not so funny in real life. Many people consider swearing vulgar, low class and unprofessional. They see the swearer as lacking in self-control and unable to express himself properly.

On the positive side, swearing has been shown to calm a person down and let her express anger without hurting anybody. A British researcher found that swearing helped his subjects to bear pain better than those who said a neutral word. Swearing turned on the subjects' fight-or-flight responses, allowing surges in adrenaline [sources: Sharples, Joeliving].

However, the researcher cautioned that swearing loses its emotional potency the more it's done, lessening its ability to dull pain [source: Joeliving]. That's probably true of swearing in general – it has less potency the more you do it. One way to stop is through using a "swear jar." Put in a set amount of money every time you swear when you shouldn't, and make it enough to hurt. Decide what you're going to do with the money, and make it something that's not fun, like putting it into your retirement account or paying off a debt. (Otherwise you've just given yourself a good reason to keep on swearing). You could also try substituting innocent words. Everyone will be laughing for real when you yell "Suffering Succotash!" next time something goes wrong at work.