Movies like Hachi: A Dog’s Tale and The Notebook have made many hands reach for the tissue box at least once. However, there are folks out there who believe that crying during a film is a sign of weakness. You can see these tough characters try to blink back the tears while pretending to have “something” in their eyes.
But guess what? They couldn’t be more wrong! Paul J. Zak, a neuroeconomist at Claremont Graduate University conducted a study in which he found that those who cry during movies are more empathetic, they have better skills when it comes to handling their emotions, and they show more resilience when facing daily challenges.
They know that these stories are fictional, but they can’t hide their feelings.
Zak mentions that cognitively speaking, despite the fact they know the movie isn’t real and the story they see on screen is fictional (most of the time), it’s still inevitable that they will cry when they experience a very emotional scene.
Blame it on the oxytocin.
The hormone oxytocin acts as a neurotransmitter, and it’s responsible for the emotions we feel when we watch a touching scene. We connect to a story, and then later to affirmative actions by the character. In other words, the hormone makes us feel more empathetic and makes us embrace a much more receptive attitude toward the world, plus it makes us feel happier.
These people are not afraid to let others see their emotions.
People who don’t feel embarrassed to cry during movies are, in fact, more mentally durable than those who try to hide their tears. That’s because they are brave enough to express how they really feel. They are not afraid of being criticized or judged. This, according to Zak himself, is also due to the effect of the oxytocin. And since they can better empathize with those around them, these folks are less afraid to stand up for what they think is right when they see a wrong.
Behold the power of tears.
These findings by Zak also show that people who cry at movies understand the healing power of tears. Crying also helps us make connections with other people. We learn to see that there are circumstances that can both negatively and positively affect our environment and that we are susceptible to those influences.
They don’t flee from their emotions
The people who cry while watching films also assume that it is essential to keep a particular perspective on what happens to us, and sometimes in life, it is necessary to take a moment and shed some tears. This allows them to achieve greater emotional stability than those who choose to hide their feelings.
They have no concern for gender roles or other such expectations.
Everyone’s heard the phrase, “big boys don’t cry.” Most boys have been taught from an early age that crying in public will make them appear weak. However, this is nothing but a nonsensical social limitation. Boys and girls, when they’re young, don’t really differ in how much they cry. It’s a human response that has nothing to do with anything related to gender, and that is known to those who do not fear to express themselves openly. They don’t care about being judged by those who believe crying is a female trait.
They experience life more fully
Oxytocin is also related to trustworthiness between human beings. Those who have more trust in others will have a higher level of this neurotransmitter in their body, and will often forge deeper relationships. Conversely, those who hide their emotions are likely to put up walls and close themselves off to those around them. We see this often in people who play the “macho” role out of fear of being seen as weak. They also live life more fully than those who have trust issues and feel distressed by the prospect of forming deeper relationships with others.
Which movies turn on the waterworks for you? Do you feel embarrassed to cry in front of others? We would love to hear your thoughts on this topic in the comments section, and please be sure to share this story with your friends and family. Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s something in my eye…