We all do it. Cry. We cry sad tears, tears of frustration and anger, tears from exhaustion and stress, and we also cry happy tears. Happy Crying GIF is one of our favorites for those happy crying emotions. So, why do we cry happy tears and what’s behind it?
You have seen happy tears in the movies and in TV shows. And if you’ve ever felt overcome with joy or success, you might’ve cried some happy tears of your own.
Tears of joy are strange and confusing, especially due to the fact that crying is mostly for a negative emotion, like sadness, grief, or fear. Happy tears are normal. So, breathe a sigh of relief and show that happy crying GIF to all.
Happy tears have been researched and there are a few potential explanations.
According to research from Yale University, happy tears happen when you experience emotions so intense that they become unmanageable. When these emotions begin to overwhelm you, you might cry or scream in order to release some of the emotions you are feeling.
After ripping open your college acceptance letter, for example, you probably screamed (so loudly your family got startled), and then you most likely burst into tears.
Some people cry at graduations, at the birth of their children, when a hero returns from war, when they reach their goals, and when someone gives to another person unselfishly.
What these diverse situations have in common is that these positive experiences have dimorphous expressions—not only positive expressions, but also expressions normatively associated with negative emotions (e.g., anger, sadness, and fear).
Happy tears, and all those wonderful happy crying GIF images, are a great example of dimorphous expression. Here, dimorphous means “two forms.” These expressions come from the same place but show up in different ways.
Another great example is the following. Have you ever seen something so cute, such as an animal or baby, that you had an urge to grab and squeeze it or even pinch the baby’s cheeks? There’s even a phrase you might’ve heard, perhaps from an adult to a small child: “I could just eat you up!”
Of course, you don’t want to hurt that pet or child by squeezing it. You really just want to cuddle and hold babies, not eat them. So, this somewhat aggressive expression of emotion may seem slightly odd, but it does have a straightforward explanation: The feelings are so intense that you simply don’t know how to handle them.
Happy tears give you some balance to extreme feelings that might otherwise have an impact on your emotional health. Crying can really be beneficial, as they help you overcome emotions when you struggle to calm down. Crying will help ease the feelings and calm you down, in the end.