Sometimes, you just have to cry it out. You’re going through a breakup. You flubbed a major project at work. There were no ripe avocados at the store. Ask a friend what you should do and she might tell you to suck it up and deal with it at the gym (after all, those endorphins count for something). But it turns out that crawling into bed and listening to Bon Iver actually is another effective way to feel better—science says so.
A new study published in Scientific Reports finds that crying while listening to sad songs actually makes people feel happier. “These results show that tears involve pleasure from sadness, and that they are psychophysiologically calming,” the study notes.
“These results show that tears involve pleasure from sadness and that they are psychophysiologically calming.”
Researchers found that when participants embraced the emo, their heart rates increased, and then a soothing peacefulness followed—and they noted that tears provide a release of physical tension. One surprising finding: Researchers observed that crying while watching a sad movie—cue The Notebook—actually caused more distress and not the same relief as crying to music does.
As for that friend who says the best way to deal with sadness is by going hard at the gym—no one’s to say that you can’t run on the treadmill with Adele blasting through your headphones. And those tears? Consider them eye sweat. You got this.
There’s a big difference between needing a good cry and being legit depressed. Here’s how to know the difference. And if you want an instant mood boost, try sipping on a tea with one of these joyous herbs.