Despite my over-emotional leanings, I am not really a crier. I’ve been dumped, I’ve had horrible fights with friends, and I’ve had texts to last night’s “one-night-stand-maybe-more” go unanswered without shedding a tear. But there is one glaring exception: I cry all the time at movies and TV. When Monica and Chandler got engaged on “Friends”? Total meltdown. When Chad Michael Murray finally stopped being a dick at the end of “A Cinderella Story”? Complete waterworks. When Mufasa dies in “The Lion King”? Absolute devastation.
While my weeping at that really cute puppy-and-Clydesdale Budweiser Super Bowl commercial definitely earned me the mocking of my friends, science now says my tearful tendencies actually make me a happier person.
Dutch researchers conducted a study in which sixty people were shown movies known to make the waterworks flow, “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale” and “Life is Beautiful.” The first made 60% of participants cry, while the second made 45% shed a tear. The effect on the participants’ mood is probably what you’d expect: those who didn’t cry said they didn’t feel any different after watching the film, while those who bawled felt sadder than before.
Duh, right? But here’s where it gets interesting: according to The Daily Mail, for those that cried, “this dip in mood was brief and within 20 minutes of the film ending, their mood had bounced back. And by an hour or so after that, they felt better than ever, Motivation and Emotion reports.” One of the study’s researchers, Asmir Gracanin of Tilburg University in the Netherlands, theorized that that crying may cause the release of the feel-good brain chemical oxytocin, which plays a role in “prosocial behaviors” (and also sexual arousal, FYI).
So if you’re feeling kind of “eh,” fire up The Fault In Our Stars on Netflix, cry it out, and apparently, your mood will be much better soon. .
[via The Daily Mail]