“Yes, a good cry indeed might go a long way to make you feel better,” said study lead author Asmir Gracanin from University of Tilburg in the Netherlands.
Very little is known about the function of crying. While some researchers see it as a cry for support, comfort or help, others believe the main role of crying is to relieve emotions.
For this study, researchers videotaped a group of 60 participants while watching the emotionally charged films La vita e bella and Hachi: A Dog’s Tale. Both the films are known to be tearjerkers.
Immediately afterwards, the 28 participants who cried and the 32 who did not shed a tear were asked how they felt.
They also had to rate their moods 20 and 90 minutes later.
As expected, 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 mood had returned to the level reported before the screening.
Finally, after 90 minutes, the criers reported even a better mood than was the case 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,” Gracanin explained.
The study was published in the Springer’s journal Motivation and Emotion.