study_crying.jpgCrying is therapeutic, so the old advice goes, but according to research published in the Journal of Research in Personality, this might not be true after all. The study, which the authors conducted on a group of women who wrote about their moods every day for three months, showed only one-third of participants (30 percent) recorded feeling better after a crying session.

"Crying is not nearly as beneficial as people think it is," Jonathan Rottenberg, co-author of the study and associate professor of psychology at the University of South Florida, is quoted as saying on MSNBC's The Body Odd blog.

In fact, the study discovered there were hardly any psychological benefits to crying. Sixty-one percent of the women who kept journals said their mood neither improved nor worsened after crying, and a small percentage (9 percent) even said their mood declined afterward.

Crying was the most helpful to women who cried with great emotion. "When crying helps, it's likely not because of the tears but because it recruits social support and draws attention to important problems," Rottenberg is quoted as saying. He suggests that instead of telling suffering friends to let their feelings out through crying, you should encourage them to seek help from their support groups instead.

This doesn't necessarily mean you should stop your loved ones from crying altogether. Just make sure you're around to comfort them while they're having a "good cry." Approach them, then talk things out with them so that they can process their emotions and feel more secure. If you feel the need to let your emotions out as well, confide in a friend. Actions like these can serve as the trigger to improve moods, not the act of crying itself.

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(Screencap from Glee courtesy of FOX)
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