Crying has long been espoused as being a cathartic response to traumatic or sad events and/or thoughts. In fact, over two-thirds of mental health practitioners actively promote crying as a therapy tool.
That fact comes courtesy of Scientific American discussing the lack of empirical evidence for crying as a coping or cathartic response. One group of researcher decided to rectify this situation and found some interesting results about when crying can help, and when it doesn’t.
Criers who received social support during their crying episode were more likely to report mood benefits than were criers who did not report receiving social support. Likewise, mood benefits were more likely when the precipitating events of a crying episode had been resolved than they were when events were unresolved. Finally, criers who reported experiencing negative social emotions like shame and embarrassment were less likely to report mood benefits.
via Mind Hacks