Cinematherapy | The psychological effects of crying and laughing during a movie
In a previous article, 'Cinematherapy: How does it work?', I explained what cinematherapy is and how it works. Now I'm going to tell you more about the effect of laughing and crying during a movie. The movies I discuss are 'The Blindside', 'Freedom Writers' and 'Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?', but I also talk a bit about one of my favorite tv shows: 'How I Met Your Mother'.
Laughter as medicine
Laughter can create a distance to problems and strengthens the feeling of happiness. It makes you feel more comfortable. People often say that laughter is the best medicine. If you have a lot of laughs, you get more active and you're going to do more fun things. It can even increase your immune system and reduce stress.
If you are very insecure about something, or constantly have to think about certain problems, going on a vacation makes you not think about it for a while. You can get the same effect by watching a funny movie. This has nothing to do with escaping from your problems, but it may help to find a solution to your problem without too much emotional involvement and with a fresh and creative perspective.
An example of such a film is ' Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? '. This is a fun, comical and adventurous film about three escaped prisoners. One of them, Everett, would like to return to his wife and children and he involves two fellow escapees in a treasure-hunt. Because this film is adventurous it is more likely that your thoughts won't wander off quickly to your own problems because you are so absorbed in the situations in which the characters are.
A movie I find very funny is 'Horrible Bosses'. I watched it five or six times by now, and I still laugh at every joke.
Instead of movies, you could also watch funny television shows to turn your frown upside down. Shows I like to watch are 'How I Met Your Mother', 'Extra's', 'Arrested Development' and 'The Office'. It depends on your taste and personality wich movies and tv shows make you laugh, but just try something and who knows you've got a winner!
Crying as emotional purification
There has been much research about the relief that crying can bring. Researchers have discovered a substance in tears, that helps us to release emotional stress. Sometimes we experience such big setbacks in life, such as a loss of a loved one or major disappointments, that it is so overwhelming that no tears come. A film that can make you cry, can let out the tears that are in there for a long time. This can be a big relief. You have let go a piece of grief and this can also help you see new perspectives.
Two examples of movies that made me cry my eyeballs out, are 'The Blindside' and 'Freedom Writers', but that's also because I don't easily cry if something bad happens to a certain character, if it is a very sad story. I mostly cry if something positive happens, when I'm happy for someone or I think someones actions are very inspiring. Everyone responds differently to movies, so you have to figure out for yourself what it is that can make you cry.
Some tv shows can be very good for both laughter and crying, like 'How I Met Your Mother'. Scenes constantly shift from funny to dramatic and back again. Sometimes you start laughing again before the tears even come out.
What movies would you recommend for laughter? And which movies could always make you cry?
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On my blog I write about the process of improving my skills, about grabbing every chance I get to become more experienced and about learning from ups and downs. Besides that, I write about everything that inspires me, like film, photography, paintings and psychology.