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Crying to Emo Music Can Actually Cheer You Up

By Erin Mosbaugh ; Updated March 17, 2018

Your significant other is being a jerk, work is stressful and the cost of your health insurance just skyrocketed. So you put in your earbuds, zone out to Frank Ocean and shed a tear. It might seem like you’re wallowing, but emo tunes can actually help when you’re feeling down, say scientists.

According to a new study published by Scientific Reports, crying while listening to sad music can improve your mood, promote calmness and release tension.

The study, which looked at the psychophysiological responses of participants when listening to different songs, found that participants derived “an increased feeling of pleasure from an intensely sad song” as well as increased heart rate followed by calm.

But if you’re feeling down and trying to choose between a tearjerker of a movie and a sad song to induce catharsis, you might want to go for Adele’s “Someone Like You” over a flick like “A Walk to Remember.” Studies using film to test physical and emotional responses indicated that movie-induced tears were accompanied by “increased distress” and that those tears “did not produce any immediate mood improvement.”

So the next time someone tells you to “stop listening to sappy songs,” let them know that they’re scientifically proven to be cathartic, and pass them one of your earbuds. And if you happen to be feeling anxious, try listening to this song, which was engineered to help treat the most common mental illness in the United States.

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