Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Taking Pleasure from Sorrow

The entertainment industry spends a lot of money on the best dramatic actors out there. From their perspective, this is a good investment because there is much money to be made from tearjerkers.

As onscreen characters face dilemmas such as death, infidelity, poverty, heartbreak and so on, the audience’s heartstrings are tugged, and their emotions pour out. The audience knows that the actors are only projecting agony, that everything happening is pure fiction. But still, their emotions are affected. Many moviegoers will even agree that the sadder the plot, the better a film is. 

The Benefits of Fiction

There are countless reasons why tragic flicks are so appealing. But did you know there are benefits as well (besides just having a reason to cry after a trying day)?

Little-known fact: Reading and watching fiction actually has great cognitive benefits. Some reports have indicated that consuming such media can make a person more empathetic and socially skilled. How? Because it develops a person’s ability to predict possible outcomes in a given situation.

Fictional movies also help us realise and appreciate our own lives and circumstances. When we watch tragedy on screen – particularly in movies like “Escape from Sobibor” – somehow the little things we’ve been agonizing over don’t seem to matter as much. 

Crying: We Can’t Help It.

Oxytocin is the element in our brains to blame for crying. It modulates empathy and engages brain circuits that make us care about others’ predicaments, even if they’re total strangers. Though crying may be our natural response to sorrow and frustration, it’s also quite healthy, as it helps us reduce stress and therefore avoid stress-related diseases.

Although it’s natural and a good release for us, some people are embarrassed to cry openly in public, even in acceptable venues like movie theatres. For those who would rather have a good cry in the privacy of their own homes, technology is the answer. With movie-streaming sites like, users can watch films on any platform: TV, smartphone, personal computer or tablet. That’s a terrific way to get a dose of drama anytime, anywhere without hiding one’s tears or tissues.

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