Is Crying Good for You? Is Crying Good for You?
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whycryWhy do people cry? Maybe tears are good for us. Maybe they calm our minds and cleanse our bodies. Yet researchers have shown that crying can make people feel worse. Psychologists from the US and the Netherlands recently studied crying. They checked detailed descriptions of crying experiences. They studied crying as it happens in everyday life, not in a laboratory.

Three thousand people from different countries participated in the study. Most of them were college students. They wrote about their recent crying experiences. They wrote about the causes of their crying and their surroundings. They also kept records of the people involved in the “crying event.” And they reported on how they felt after they cried.

The researchers showed that crying experiences are not equal. Crying does not always make a person feel better. About 10% of the people reported feeling worse after they cried. However, one third of the people felt better after crying. And a majority reported the experience as helpful.

The research also showed this. If people feel shame when they cry, crying will be less helpful for them. People who cry alone may not do as well as people who cry with others around. That is, if people reach out for and receive emotional support, they will have better results from crying. In the end, this study reminds us of an important truth. Human beings need the emotional support of friends and communities.

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