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Let It All Out: Sad Music Actually Does Make You Feel Better, Scientists Find

If you’ve ever ugly-cried to any given Adele song at the end of a long and arduous day, you understand the therapeutic benefits such an indulgence can provide.

Now, science is backing up that phenomenon.

A new study published in Scientific Reports claims that listening to sad music can actually make you feel better – particularly if the music in question puts a lump in your throat or a tear in your eye.

In the study, researchers had participants fill out a survey on how they respond to music, including how often they get goosebumps, shivers down their spine, teary eyes or a lump in their throat.

Participants were then grouped into two categories: those who got chills and those who started to cry. Each participant was then tasked with listening to six songs (three of which the participant could choose themselves) in the interest of getting an emotional response out of them.

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Whenever participants experienced a reaction, they had to push a button and move a cursor around a screen to indicate how much pleasure they were feeling. The researchers also tracked participants’ heart rates and surveyed them for other physical signs that they were fully involved in the music (crying, smiling, etc.) Finally, the participants were asked to rate how intensely they felt and how emotional they considered the song to be.

While both groups experienced deeper breathing and pleasure while exposed to the music, the songs that made participants cry also left them feeling calmer and more at peace than they did before listening.

“These results show that tears involve pleasure from sadness and that they are psychophysiologically calming,” wrote the scientists.

In other words, let that Lana del Rey roll.  

h/t Men’s Health


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