Despite the fact that happy tears are a real thing, crying isn’t really the first thing we associate with happiness. In fact, we’re always told that a good laugh, or positive thinking are the best ways to live a stress-free life – until now.
According to new research, crying regularly is exactly what we need to be doing to increase our happiness levels. Better yet, the study, conducted by Japanese researchers claims that tears of sadness are just as powerful as tears of happiness when it comes to reducing stress.
While that may sound strange, this is because crying actually relaxes autonomic nerves by stimulating parasympathetic nerve activity. Japanese academic, Hidefumi Yoshida, has become an expert in the topic, working with Toho University and travelling the country to give lectures to schools and businesses about the benefits of crying.
Speaking to the Japan Times, Yoshida, who is known as a ‘tear teacher’ explained: ‘The act of crying is more effective than laughing or sleeping in reducing stress. If you cry once a week, you can live a stress-free life.’
To get the tears flowing, Yoshida recommends doing everything from listening to sad music and watching tear-jerkers, to reading thought-provoking books. So next time you cry at your favourite TV show, do so knowing it’s for the greater good of your overall happiness.
And that’s not all, German scientists have similarly found that taking hot baths also increase our happiness – a result we’re sure is very welcomed by those who, like us, love indulging some much-needed me time.
In fact, they found that hot baths could be more effective than exercise at beating depression. The conclusion came after researchers from the University of Freiburg asked 45 people with depression to take a 30 minute bath followed by 20 minutes of relaxation with a warm blanket and a hot water bottle, every night for eight weeks. This routine appeared to boost their mental wellbeing by eight points – three points more than other participants with depression who exercised for 45 minutes a week.
So there you have it, hot baths and regular tears for the win.