By Sharon Tanenbaum
As billions (!) of people tuned in to watch the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton (now, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge), millions likely shed a tear (or a few) as the stunning bride was escorted in by her father or as the groom first saw his wife-to-be or when those fateful vows were exchanged.
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But why? The vast majority of us don't personally know the bride and groom. And, seeing as this is a wedding, it's a happy occasion, so why shed tears that are typically reserved for moments of sadness or stress?
"Our individual reactions are based on the feelings evoked within us while we witness an event," explains Shoshana Bennett, PhD, a clinical psychologist and host of The Dr. Shosh radio show. "It has little or nothing to do with the actual people involved." Instead, whether we cry or not has more to do with our personalities and past experiences, she says.
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If you're a person who sheds a tear at the drop of an "I do," don't fret: Crying is actually good for your emotional health as it's a healthy way to release any pent-up emotion and can even lift your spirits afterward. A study of nearly 200 Dutch women found that almost 9 in 10 said they felt better after a good cry.
And, as it turns out, welling up in front of a dry-eyed friend has its perks, too, since having a shoulder to cry on can help build relationships. An Israeli researcher found that crying communicates vulnerability to others, so a person who comforts you can actually feel closer to you, which strengthens the bond between you.
So whether you shed a single tear or went through a box of Kleenex, releasing all of that emotion is nothing to blush about. "Each of us reacts differently to occasions and events, and it's important not to judge one reaction as better or worse," Bennett says. "The key point is that there is no right or wrong to feelings. They just are."
So, go ahead, whip out those tissues and let the tears flow!
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Did you cry during the royal wedding? Do you normally cry at weddings?
Photo credit: Wenn.com
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