Cry at penguins in ads? Well done: you're highly evolved

I only have to recall an emotional situation and I'm watering the plants
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The Independent Online

I read a piece of news last week that almost made me weep for joy. Crying is good for you, it said. That's the best news I've heard since It's a Wonderful Life came out on DVD and Kleenex released its extra sensitive range, and it's especially welcome as I settle down to watch every shop's Christmas adverts one after another. For people who cry at the drop of a hat, like I do, any chance is met with happy tears.

According to the latest study, by researchers at Yale University, crying in happy situations or laughing in nervous ones helps to control big emotions and get over them more quickly. "People may be restoring emotional equilibrium with these expressions," said the psychologist in charge, Oriana Aragon. "They seem to take place when people are overwhelmed … and people who do this seem to recover better." It's just as I always said, then: when things get on top of you in any way, there's nothing to beat a good cry and starting again.

This is not the first time academic research has suggested that we criers are better people and more highly evolved. In 2012, Michael Trimble's book Why Humans Like to Cry: Tragedy, Evolution, and the Brain argued that "emotional weeping is not only uniquely human, but universal", and again showed that most people feel better after a good cry. Nevertheless, some people, most of them men, are weirdly frightened by a few tears. And just try filling in a personality test honestly if you're one of life's leakers. You'll be accused of putting feelings above logic if you so much as admit to blubbing in a sad film. Though, as we have seen, the logical thinkers among us know that crying is clever.

As a highly experienced and expert crier, I don't even have to undergo a surge of emotion to bring on a flood of tears. I only have to recall such a situation and I'm watering the plants. That thing my dad said when I showed him my A-level results … driving east over the Severn Bridge (long story) … my wedding …. You're going to have to excuse me while I blow my nose. But that just shows how well-balanced and psychologically healthy I am.

Unlike people who keep their emotions hidden, people who cry with joy are helping to control their feelings and restore their equilibrium, this latest research shows. "These insights advance our understanding of how people express and control their emotions," revealed the Yale study. "[This] is importantly related to mental and physical health, the quality of relationships with others, and even how well people work together."

There you go, then: people who cry at penguins in advertisements are emotionally more mature, better lovers and more productive colleagues than their dry-eyed friends. It's about time I received a promotion, given all of this. And, of course, you know what will happen if I do (or if I don't, or pretty much anyway, really).

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