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Crying When We're Happy May Help Us Regulate Our Emotions

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If weddings, graduation ceremonies, and cute animal commercials cause you to melt into a puddle of tears, take comfort: You’re not alone. Nobody quite knows why some people cry when they're happy, but in the video below, Business Insider’s Graham Flanagan explains why positive emotions may prompt us to turn on the waterworks.

According to Yale psychologist Oriana R. Aragón, we might shed tears to regulate particularly intense feelings. In 2014, Aragón and her colleagues conducted a study—which was later published in the journal Psychological Science—in which they examined how subjects reacted to emotionally triggering pictures, like cute babies or happy reunions. They found that people who exhibited negative responses to positive things (like crying at a graduation) were able to moderate strong feelings more effectively than others.

“People may be restoring emotional equilibrium with these expressions,” Aragón said in a release. “They seem to take place when people are overwhelmed with strong positive emotions, and people who do this seem to recover better from those strong emotions.”

But why should we control favorable emotions instead of reveling in them? Research indicates that individuals who can regulate their emotions are generally happier and less distressed than those who can’t.

Plus, you have to admit—a good cry can feel pretty good. As Business Insider points out, emotional tears exhibit higher levels of stress hormones, and they also contain endorphins, a.k.a. nature’s painkillers. So go ahead, weep during that cereal commercial. We won’t laugh at you. Not too much, anyway.

[h/t Business Insider]

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Food
Learn to Spot the Sneaky Psychological Tricks Restaurants Use
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While dining out, you may have noticed (but perhaps didn’t question) some unusual features—like prices missing dollar signs, or burgers served on plates that could accommodate a baby cow.

These aren’t just arbitrary culinary decisions, as the SciShow’s Hank Green explains in the video below. Restaurants use all kinds of psychological tricks to make you spend more money, ranging from eliminating currency symbols (this makes you think less about how much things cost) to plating meals on oversize dinnerware (it makes you eat more). As for the mouthwatering language used to describe food—that burger listed as a "delectable chargrilled extravagance," for example—studies show that these types of write-ups can increase sales by up to 27 percent.

Learn more psychological tricks used by restaurants (and how to avoid falling for them) by watching the video below. (Or, read our additional coverage on the subject.)

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Animals
Owning a Dog May Add Years to Your Life, Study Shows
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We've said that having a furry friend can reduce depression, promote better sleep, and encourage more exercise. Now, research has indicated that caring for a canine might actually extend your lifespan.

Previous studies have shown that dog owners have an innate sense of comfort and increased well-being. A new paper published in Scientific Reports and conducted by Uppsala University in Sweden looked at the health records of 3.4 million of the country's residents. These records typically include personal data like marital status and whether the individual owns a pet. Researchers got additional insight from a national dog registry providing ownership information. According to the study, those with a dog for a housemate were less likely to die from cardiovascular disease or any other cause during the study's 12-year duration.

The study included adults 40 to 80 years old, with a mean age of 57. Researchers found that dogs were a positive predictor in health, particularly among singles. Those who had one were 33 percent less likely to die early than those who did not. Authors didn't conclude the exact reason behind the correlation: It could be active people are more likely to own dogs, that dogs promoted more activity, or that psychological factors like lowered incidences of depression might bolster overall well-being. Either way, having a pooch in your life could mean living a longer one.

[h/t Bloomberg]

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