The Perks of Being a Crybaby

Turns out, there is such a thing as a "good cry."

Photo by Peter Hapak

Do your friends refer to you as “waterworks?” Did your family hide your copy of The Notebook? Do your kids complain you get a little too emotional (and it's embarrassing!)? Well, you might actually be happier than they are. Though crying makes you feel low immediately after the tears stop, according to a new study from the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands, your overall mood may benefit just an hour and a half later.

For the study, published in Springer’s journal Motivation and Emotion, 60 participants watched scenes from two tearjerkers: La vita é bella and Hachi: A Dog’s Tale. The scenes were picked from previous sessions that marked which parts were the most wail-inducing and also which were needed to effectively portray the overall story line. Researchers asked the 28 participants who shed tears and the other 32 stone-faced participants to rate their moods immediately after watching the movie, and then again 20 and 90 minutes later.

The hardened hearts didn’t experience any mood shifts during the study. But the weepers? At first they reported low emotions. After 20 minutes, though, their mood returned to the level the reported before the study. And an hour and a half after watching the films? Those who bawled actually felt better than they did before the study started.

Rebounding after an emotional dip can make you feel as though you're in a better place than when you started, explains lead researcher Asmir Gračanin in a statement.

Crying has been a curious human phenomenon that only recently has been studied by researchers. The study authors hope this study can help to parse out why some people claim crying feels like a stress reliever while others find it even more stressful. Think you cry a little too much for your own good? Here are a few tips on how to stop. Don’t think you cry enough? We’ve compiled 20 favorite romance movies that are sure to get the tears flowing.