Watching a “Snot en Trane” movie is good for you

tear jerker makes you feel lovedIt has been a tough week, you’re feeling a little blue…. You’ve decided to treat yourself to a movie. Sad or happy ?

This week’s Neurotechnology Tip suggests buying a ticket to the sad show, might be just what the doctor ordered. Logic says a funny movie is what you need, happy stories should lift your spirits, but this may not always be true. Tearjerker movies can leave you feeling a lot less blue and connected too.

The recipe for happy ?

The tears flow as the drama unfolds…………

Boy meets girl, they fall in love. Something awful happens to keep them apart and test their love for each other.

The something awful is the pivotal point around which the story hangs. Something awful on the surface is a gigantic negative and yet, even if the movie doesn’t end with a happily ever after, many people leave happier.

Tearjerkers arouse happy emotions

Researchers from Ohio State University wanted to know how sad stories can lead to good feelings.

A group of college students went to the movies and watched an abridged version of the movie “Atonement”. The story follows the recipe for a tragedy – without a happy ending.

The students general state of happiness was assessed before the movie and then at intervals during the viewing, as well as at the end. At the end of the movie, they had to rate the movie, as well as describe how the movie related to themselves.

Life and the movies

Writing an essay about a movie, is a rather academic situation, but the student’s reflections shed light on how sad stuff can make us happy.

The first big surprise, was that the happiness experienced following a sad film, has nothing to do with a realization that …..“Hey, my life is not so bad, so I should be happy”.

The tears caused people to take stock of the people in their lives. Watching tragic relationships brought real relationships into focus. Thinking about the people you love and the people who love you, evokes warm and fuzzy feelings. Warm and fuzzy feelings equate to happiness.

A negative perspective can be good for you

Positive emotions signal that all is well and discourage reflective thinking, since it is not necessary. Negative emotions on the other hand, encourage one to take a long hard look at life.

A fresh perspective, obtained in a quiet moment of reflection induced by the screen action, can unleash a flood of feel good chemicals, which ends up lifting your mood and enriching your life.

So next time you go to the movies, don’t be afraid to buy a ticket to something sad, it might just make you glad you did.

PS. If you want the “happiness” of getting close and personal real quick – you need to pick something a little scary not teary

Tragedy Viewers Count Their Blessings: Feeling low on Fiction Leads to Feeling High on Life. Communication Research (2012)  S. Knobloch-Westerwick, Y. Gong, H. Hagner, L. Kerbeykian.

To wire up your brain a little each week ………………..

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Hire Dr Sandy from a Spoonful of Science to be the keynote speaker at your next event.

Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below

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