From The Morton Blog

Dear Diary, I Cried Today

Boo hoo for me and you.

By , Columnist
A new study published in the Journal of Research in Personality reports shedding tears is not actually the mood booster we once thought.

Ninety-seven women aged 18 to 48 in the Netherlands were asked to keep a daily crying and mood diary for two-to-three-months. Men were not included in this experiment because the study originally intended to observe a link between crying and the menstrual cycle. Also, apparently, real men don’t cry and have no problem wearing pink.

The researchers ended up with over 1,000 crying episodes and several hundred pages of tear-streaked notes to sort through. The results showed that the average crying session lasted eight minutes and took place in the living room, usually alone or with one other person present, who felt uncomfortable watching a crying person take notes. Conflict, loss, or seeing others suffer were reported as the most common triggers. Crying one’s way out of a speeding ticket or over “having a fat day” were not reported.

The study found little evidence of any psychological payoffs from crying with 61 percent experiencing no mood change and nine percent feeling worse. The participants, who cried the hardest, but not the longest, received the greatest mood boost after sobbing.


The study’s lead author Jonathan Rottenberg believes crying is “likely not because of the tears but because it recruits social support and draws attention to important problems." Rather than encouraging people to cry, it makes more sense, he suggests, to encourage them to bolster their social networks.

There you have it ladies (and men in touch with your emotional side), to turn the tear faucet off go get your Facebook on and you won’t have a crying headache or swollen eyes to pay for it. I’ve also heard squeezing a small area of your underarm stops tears; not too hard though, we don’t want the tears to start again.

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Holly is a freelance writer and copy editor with a background in journalism and publishing. Like a grandmother's purse, she is about three decades old, worn around the edges and mostly full of crap.

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