Watching sad or traumatic movies can sometimes be just what doctor ordered. new study reveals that watching distressing movies may boost our tolerance to pain. Researchers at Oxford University say that movies that get your emotions going can increase amount of endorphins released by brain. These are our body's natural painkillers - chemicals that make us feel better after physical or psychological pain. Dr Robin Dunbar, co-author of study, explained that: "Maybe emotional [distress] you get from tragedy triggers endorphin system." He added: " same areas in brain that deal with physical pain also handle psychological pain."
Dr Dunbar and his colleagues conducted series of tests to determine effect that tragic stories have on us. They invited 169 people to take part in experiment. One group watched traumatic drama about disabled man battling homelessness, drug addiction and alcoholism. Another group watched documentary on geology and archaeology of Britain. The results showed that on average, pain tolerance of those who watched traumatic drama increased by 13.1 per cent. This compared to average decrease in pain threshold of 4.6 per cent for those who watched documentary. Dr Dunbar suggested one reason we like watching sad movies is the natural high from endorphins.