One of the best philosophies to live by comes from Shrek, who belches and declares, "Better out than in, I always say." When it comes to emotions, they always feel better out than in. Sad? Mad? Feeling bad? Write about it, talk about it, cry it out. Except a new study says: Not so fast.
The Body Odd reports that in a study published in the Journal of Research in Personality, scientists found little evidence of any psychological payoffs from crying. "Crying is not nearly as beneficial as people think it is," says Jonathan Rottenberg, an associate professor of psychology at the University of South Florida in Tampa, and the study's lead author.
Dude, people are always talking about having a "good cry." Good as in beneficial. Good as in, That felt amazing, getting that out. Now I am exhausted but at least I am not holding a bunch of stuff in.
One thing you have to wonder about the study — in which 97 Dutch women, aged 18 to 48, participated — is whether being told to record your mood and your crying affects how you feel about your moods and your crying. Because if crying doesn't make you feel better, then, I mean, what have we been doing all these years?
Still, even though the people who had a "good" cry were in the minority, the study found that:
participants who sobbed with the greatest intensity — but not for the longest amount of time — enjoyed the biggest bang from their bawling: Their moods benefitted the most from shedding tears.
Cry it out, people. Better out than in.
Crying Shame: Tears Don't Make You Feel Any Better, Study Shows [Body Odd/MSNBC]