General Question

Joe_Freeman's avatar

Why do people like to make themselves sad, by watching sad movies, reading sad books, listening to sad songs, and so on?

Asked by Joe_Freeman (504points) June 13th, 2009

Though women seem to do this more than men, I do it myself, and I can’t figure out why feeling sad makes me feel good. What the heck is going on here?

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16 Answers

laureth's avatar

Because then happiness, as a contrast, feels even better.

Because emotional catharsis is sometimes necessary.

Because people are sad sometimes and need to feel not so alone in this big bad world.

Because you can experience sadness and then have it be over with very easily, like babysitting and then sending the kids home. You don’t have to keep it.

Jeruba's avatar

It can be cathartic.

Also a story or song can be satisfying and good without being happy. There is usually some kind of affirmation in it anyway. Even relentless, unrelieved gloom can make a point. It isn’t all about cheeriness. Too much cheer depresses me.

When I am in a down mood, the last thing I want is something jolly. I want something that feels as bad as I do, or preferably a whole lot worse.

Sunybunny's avatar

Because “fake sad” is so much easier to handle than real sad. Its like cutting yourself.

SeventhSense's avatar

I think it helps us purge our grief. Sometimes a funeral can also do that. It’s like an excuse to let it all out without the stigma of losing it at work or the grocery store. And it may have little to do with the actual sadness of the movie or the death.

eponymoushipster's avatar

misery loves company.

susanc's avatar

Tears——> endorphins.

augustlan's avatar

I vote for catharsis. Sometimes, you don’t even realize you need a good cry until after you’ve had one.

Kayak8's avatar

Yep, I am on board with catharsis. Sometimes it all gets bottled up and needs a way out . . .

Mariah's avatar

No one’s never sad, but a lot of people never act it. And if we don’t express it properly then it builds up inside, sometimes without our even realizing it. Sometimes getting all sad over a movie is an easier way to release it than trying to actually interpret and express the real reason behind it. Though that’ll probably have to happen eventually, too.

SirBailey's avatar

I think SOME people do this. Others like horror movies to be scared. Or comedies to laugh. Who knows why.

RedPowerLady's avatar

When you cry your brain releases endorphins (happy hormones). Perhaps that has something to do with it?

augustlan's avatar

@SirBailey I enjoy all of the above.

RareDenver's avatar

It’s like reading problem pages, it makes your own life seem not that bad!

tiffyandthewall's avatar

empathy, the feeling of a genuine to-the-core emotion, making room for improvement.

fathippo's avatar

feeling sad does feel really good sometimes.. especially if it’s connected with some beautiful sadness like in music…
it’s maybe like you can retreat in to your mind and its peaceful and cathartic, especailly if its associated with something you love (like music) that in kind of makes it a comforting sadness, not like trapping and crushing depression or something…

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