Why People Cry When They're Happy

Why People Cry When They're Happy Hero Image

We often take for granted the fact that many people cry upon receiving happy news, as tears of joy are a well-known phenomenon. But have you ever wondered why an expression typically associated with pain or sadness can also express the opposite?

A study out of Yale University may have the answer. According to psychologist Oriana Aragon, crying when happy may function as a way to mitigate the effects of intense emotions. In other words, crying when you're overwhelmed with joy keeps from becoming, well, actually overwhelmed.

Science Daily has more:

Aragon and her colleagues at Yale ... found that individuals who express negative reactions to positive news were able to moderate intense emotions more quickly. They also found people who are most likely to cry at their child's graduation are most likely to want to pinch a cute baby's cheeks.

The study points out that we often use seemingly incongruous reactions to tamp down our emotions when they threaten to run out of control. If you've ever laughed when you're nervous, or cracked a joke about a tragedy, you may be making use of this psychological effect.

So the next time you find yourself crying at a wedding, don't feel embarrassed! It's just your brain keeping yourself from getting too out of control.


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