Whether you’re pregnant or a new mom, just about anything can set off the ticking time bomb that turns you into a blubbering mess. But that cascade of tears is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, crying is good for you.

In a paper titled “Is Crying Beneficial?” Jonathan Rottenberg, Ph.D., a clinical psychology professor at the University of South Florida wrote that when subjects were surveyed about their past episodes of crying, 60-70% reported that crying brought them psychological benefits. However, those benefits depend on certain factors, like the social environment that the crier is in. For example, if a person crying is in a setting that makes them feel embarrassed by their tears, then it won’t have a positive effect.

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Stephen Sideroff, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at UCLA and director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Ethics echoed the same idea in an interview with WebMD. “Letting down one’s guard and one’s defenses and [crying] is a very positive, healthy thing. The same thing happens when you watch a movie and it touches you and you cry… That process of opening into yourself… it’s like a lock and key.”

In other words, after a long day press play on that DVR’d queue of This Is Us episodes and just let it go.

Does crying make you feel better? Share your thoughts in the comments.

—Shahrzad Warkentin

 

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