It is frequently said that laughter is the best medicine, but a survey is attempting to turn that theory on its head, by saying that letting the tears flow on the regular really does make you happier in the long run.
Often, there’s just something so wonderful about having a good weep, so we know it can’t be all doom and gloom. You’re releasing pent-up emotions and ridding your soul of its cobwebs. And there’s more. According to researchers in the Netherlands Journal of Motivation and Emotion, we should just let it all out as this is the thing that can, ironically, help us cheer up. On top of that, crying also serves as a biochemical purpose. It’s believed to release stress hormones or toxins from the body.
The scientists, led by Dr Asmit Gracanin of the University of Tilburg, recorded a group of 60 participants while they watched two tear-jerkers: Life is Beautiful and Hachi: A Dog’s Tale. The group was then interviewed about how they felt before and after each film.
Out of the group, 60% cried during Hachi, a movie in which Richard Gere befriends a homeless dog, and 45% of participants cried watching Life is Beautiful, set in a Nazi concentration camp.
The mood of the non-criers was unchanged and unaffected immediately after seeing the films. The mood of the criers, on the other hand, was distinctively low and even took a dip. Within 20 minutes, however, their state had returned to the level reported before the screening. Finally, after 90 minutes, those who wept reported even a better mood than before the films started.
“After the initial deterioration of mood following crying, it takes some time for the mood not only to recover but also to be lifted above the levels at which it had been before the emotional event,” said Dr Gracanin.
One reason for these findings is that crying is thought to trigger the release of the positive brain chemical, oxytocin. Another reason is that people could be making a conscious mental effort to feel better after crying. There have been a number of other studies done showcasing the positive effects of crying, as well as distinct contrasting reports linking it to mood dips, but Dr Gracanin said that his study counteracts the latter research because it takes the brain some time to recover from feeling blue, hence explaining the reason for participants feeling happier after the 90-minute gap.
“After the initial deterioration of mood following crying, it takes some time for the mood not only to recover but also to be lifted above the levels at which it had been before the emotional event,” he explained.
While the study was only conducted on a small number, being that some may have a case of the January blues, here is another reason for you to let the tears fall should you need too.
Via Science Daily