Calling all criers! Your friends and family might poke fun at you for the way you unfailingly shed a tear during every emotional movie you see and every touching story you read, but new research is here to back your up your weepy ways: According to a recent study published in Scientific Reports, crying to sad music (like you do every time you hear a sad song) can actually boost your mood.
In the April 2017 study, Japanese researchers asked 154 participants to respond to a survey about their emotional reactions to music and how often they experienced goose bumps, shivers, crying, or a lump in their throat while listening to songs. Based on the results, the researchers divided up 66 of those participants into two groups: a "chills" group and a "tears" group.
Each participant was then asked to listen to six songs, pressing a button each time they experienced their group's target reaction (chills or tears) and using a computer to signify how much pleasure they felt throughout the song. Using this data along with the participants' heart rates and physical reactions to the music, the researchers determined that both songs that induced chills and songs that induced tears led to pleasure and deep breathing, but only songs that induced tears were perceived as sad — and calming.
So, what exactly does this mean? Even though the study was on the smaller side and relied heavily on self-reported data, it backs up the idea that "crying it out" really does do your mind some good.
"These results show that tears involve pleasure from sadness and that they are psychophysiologically calming; thus, psychophysiological responses permit the distinction between chills and tears," the study authors wrote. "Because tears may have a cathartic effect, the functional significance of chills and tears seems to be different."
The takeaway: Crying to sad music, specifically, might be just what you need to boost your spirits and move on from negative feelings. So go find yourself a private place to snuggle up and sob!
Here's a playlist of some of our favorite tearjerkers to get you started:
[h/t Science of Us]