Why Do Sad Movies Actually Make Us Feel Better?

Sometimes we just need to cry and eat ice-cream.


Going for cocktails with our friends or running a candle lit bath usually give us that positive mood boost we need but sometimes, we just need a good ol' cry. Surprisingly, crying can actually make us feel better! 

We can experience our emotions through movies

Our brains are complex and when we watch a movie, there’s a lot of stimuli to process. We often identify with characters and their stories which validate our internal thoughts and feelings. They allow us to confront our real issues through the screen and experience ‘reality’ in a safe space. Perhaps we learn how to confront our emotions, deal with them or resolve them. 

Crying releases endorphins 

What is the process behind crying? In basic terms, extreme emotions are processed by the body as a danger. To prepare for the danger, your throat swells (causing that horrible tight feeling in your throat), your lips may start to quiver and your voice may get shaky too. This tells your body to send signals to the lachrymal glands, which then produce tears. These chemicals produce endorphins and some specialists believe that tears act like pain relievers to boost your mood.

Crying restores emotional balance when we become overwhelmed; when you experience extreme emotions, crying is your body’s way of recovering and restoring stillness. 

It increases empathy 

Watching sad movies makes us feel compassionate for the characters and their story. They have the power to change our perspective or understand of something, or someone, better - which makes us kinder when we practice this empathy in real life. 

If you feel like you’re in need of a good cry, we suggest watching any Nicholas Sparks movie. 

Of course, too much of anything can be a bad thing. Crying at movies can be a sign of something deeper so if you’re crying often and feeling worse rather than balanced, it may be time so seek help. 

Up next, Surprisingly Good Things That Have Happened in 2020