Here’s an excellent reason to watch a soppy movie tonight 18



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Did you know humans are the only animals capable of crying? Why we do so is still something of a mystery from a scientific point of view, but one theory is that it makes us feel better. A team of researchers from Holland set out to explore this mystery and showed the heart-wrenching films Life is Beautiful and the 2009 Richard Gere film Hachi: A Dog’s Tale to a group of participants.

You may wonder: who wouldn’t shed a tear during those lovely films? But, as it turns out, a little over half of the audience remained dry-eyed.

For those weeping into their popcorn, however, it’s good news. The ability to let loose and cry (benchmarked by actual tears, FYI), meant those participants experienced a tangible boost to their mood. Not immediately ­ – as previous studies have shown, the immediate effects of a soppy movie are feelings of depression.

However, this malaise passed quickly and equilibrium was restored. Then, about 90 minutes after the film’s end, the weepers felt a delayed emotional boost, perhaps from realising their own life looked pretty good compared to an abandoned dog’s or people living though Nazi occupation.

“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 study leader Asmir Gračanin from the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands.

The emotional boost was not related to the number of times participants lost control, but the shedding of actual tears. So it seems there might be some truth in the old wives’ tale that everyone feels better “after a good cry”.

Do you feel better after watching a sad movie? Share your favourite tearjerkers in the comments!

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  1. The last TV tears I shed was watching the King Richard lll re-burial. Poor bugger was younger than my youngest when he was killed.

  2. I’m not a weeper but anything really heart rending or heart warming my eyes moisten, sinuses blow up, and I reach for the tissues

  3. Any animal stories, sad movies, when others cry, even ads on tv – I cry. But I also laugh easily too.

    2 REPLY
    • When the children were 11 and 12 I hired Watership Down thinking they were old enough to watch it. The outcome was, I was sobbing uncontrollably. son was crying because I was crying and husband came home to this scene and panicked. What What What’s happened. 12yr old girl said “They’re just crying because the rabbit died” Him “What bloody rabbit” The ones on the video. He was so angry. He ripped it out of the player and took it back straight away. I really hit me because obviously the rabbits could be any group of migrants, refugees and after all their struggles to find a better place – they get old and die anyway. That’s what hit me so hard. You fight and struggle all you life for existence – and the outcome is always the same – you die. 10 years later, daughter gave me the DVD of Watership Down – and I’m pleased to have it – but I never watch it. That one viewing is etched into my mind.

  4. I cry in sad adds. When I watched ” Beaches “and ran out of tissues. Sometimes I think I need to toughen up I’m a sook.

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  6. I tell my family this all the time, it’s so true, Tears are the rivers of life! Never fear a few tears!

  7. Yes, nothing like getting the girls together for a good old tear jerker. I saw hubby take out a tissue during “Last Cab to Darwin” while I unashamedly wept into mine. They have proven that their are healing chemicals in tears so let them flow free!

  8. Tears are cathartic, removing tension from inner feelings not necessarily related to the cause of the tears – so yes, very good!

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