Recent studies show that you're not a masochistic lunatic for watching sad movies. According to Science Daily
— and research conducted by an Ohio State University professor and her student team — people actually enjoy tragic films, because they make people … happier.
"Researchers found that watching a tragedy movie caused people to think about their own close relationships, which in turn boosted their life happiness. The result was that what seems like a negative experience — watching a sad story — made people happier by bringing attention to some positive aspects in their own lives," Science Daily reports. Hurray for warm fuzzies! So, we guess this is also kind of like that awful thing you've probably done at least once in your life where you look at someone in your circle of friends and thank your lucky stars you're not as broke/lonely/desperate as they are? The report does state sad movies only makes you happier in the short-term — which means as soon as you realize you're being a total jerk for thinking this way you're, uh, sad again. And, the report does confirm that. "Viewers who had self-centered thoughts concerning the movie — such as 'My life isn't as bad as the characters in this movie' — did not see an increase in their happiness.
The study claims to be the first scientific one of its kind. Apparently scientists before this have been cruel mistresses and didn't really care whether or not fictional tragedies made them happy or sad. What was the movie that the research team used to test their theory? Apparently they showed an abridged version of Joe Wright's war-torn romance Atonement to 361 college students and asked them how they felt before, during, and after.
So, enjoy a moment of appreciation for your loved ones after watching a sad sob story — but really, love them lots before that too.