The Benefits of a Good Cry

Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Cry, and you might feel better.
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By Beth Greenwood, dailyRx News Reporter

Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Cry, and you might feel better.

In a new study, researchers from the Netherlands studied the emotional effects of crying on people's moods. They found that after people cried, their mood dipped but improved shortly thereafter.

"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 lead author Asmir Gračanin, PhD, of the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands, in a press release.

The function of crying in humans is unknown. Although some researchers see it as a way to relieve emotions, past research has yielded conflicting results. Some people seem to feel better after crying, while others seem to feel worse.

Dr. Gračanin, whose research focus is on crying, and colleagues had 60 people watch two emotionally charged films. Immediately afterward, these researchers assessed the study participants' moods. They reassessed the participants at 20 and 90 minutes.

Twenty-eight people cried and 32 did not. Moods in those who did not cry were unchanged, Dr. Gračanin and team found.

Moods in those who cried dropped immediately after the films. Within 20 minutes, however, those who cried said their moods were back to the level reported before the films.

At 90 minutes, the criers reported that their moods had improved even more.

This study was published in the August issue of the journal Motivation and Emotion.

The Foundation of the University of Rijeka and the Government of the Republic of Croatia funded this research.

The authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.

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