How Romantic Tearjerkers Actually Make Us Happier

CN Digital StudioAnna Breslaw, Glamour magazine

Apparently, watching sappy tragedies make us grateful for what we have! Congratulations, you are now allowed to watch P.S. I Love You somewhere other than on a plane.

I believe it was renowned scientist Celine Dion who first discovered autocardio-continuity, and she was right: Our hearts will go on and on.

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According to a study out of The Ohio State University, reported by Science Daily, tragic movies make us think about our closest relationships and bring attention to the positivity in our lives. Interestingly, it was those viewers who actually thought about their loved ones who experienced an increase in post-weepy-movie happiness; meanwhile, those who approached it from a self-involved angle (e.g. "My life is so much better than these characters' lives") did not feel happier afterward.

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The lead author of the study, Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, ties her results in with prior research that has suggested that negative moods make people more thoughtful and introspective, whereas "positive emotions are generally a signal that everything is fine, you don't have to worry, you don't have to think about issues in your life."

The results were determined by sitting down 361 college students at a screening of Atonement, the 2007 wartime romantic tragedy with Keira Knightley. They were asked to rank their happiness before, after and three times during the film, and many participants reported that it let them to reflect on and appreciate their relationships and goals.

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To be honest, I'd love to see a study like this done along gender lines--as in, how many dudes wept and reflected on tragic war casualties Cecilia and Robbie? And are they single? And are they husky? Are they all in Ohio? (If so, Gena, get on that!)

Are you surprised by this study? Do you want to see Titanic 3D with me?


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