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10 snack & screen pairings for those who need to wallow

July 12, 2016

Sometimes, you just need to retreat from the world and have a bit of a cry, don’t you?

A big day in to let it all out, kinda thing.

This blanket-worthy practice is such a trusty default, I was fairly sure there must be more to the sad story.

Surely it’s not just about slippers, G&Ts and pizza with the curtains drawn, I figured.  There must be proper scientific reasons that going deeper into your sads – with a hefty slathering of EVEN MORE feelings via the cast of Steel Magnolias or War and Peace – would be an often-turned-to-salve for so many, I thought.

It turns out I thought right.

There are a few very good reasons a sobby wallow in front of a film can make us feel better and it’s not just the cosy factor that makes this a solid dark-days response.

Firstly, emotionally charged dramas about relationships throw fresh light on the connections we have with our favourite people.

If we’re thoughtful viewers, these kinds of films anchor us back to the best bits of our important relationships, even when we might have been feeling that we are actually the saddest/sickest/most unloved person in the whole wide world. #PityParty #wahhh

The experts say that when we’re happy, we tend not to think as deeply about life. When we’re sad, we tend to dive in and attempt to discover/trouble-shoot whatever is going ‘wrong’.

“Positive emotions are generally a signal that everything is fine, you don’t have to worry, you don’t have to think about issues in your life,” Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, expert, sad-movie-benefit-studier and associate professor of communication at Ohio State University explains.

“But negative emotions, like sadness, make you think more critically about your situation. So seeing a tragic movie about star-crossed lovers may make you sad, but that will cause you to think more about your own close relationships and appreciate them more.”

Another reason a good sad-film-sob is helpful is because tears are helpful. Who knew?! #HelpfulTears

Research tells us that emotional tears (the kind we’d shed while watching Shelby’s sad end in Steel Magnolias, for instance) help to release toxins from our body. You can literally cry away the pesky stress hormones – like cortisol – that get us all jacked up/freaked when we’re feeling terrible.  Yet crying is not just about getting it all OUT. Nope. Tears also contain chemicals that help to reduce pain endorphin-style. We’d like to keep the endorphins IN us, if you please. Yep.

There’s also some evidence that crying helps us to self-soothe and lots of evidence that crying encourages others to soothe us. I would suggest that self-soothing is totally under-rated and we should all be armed with lots of self-soothing strategies as we adventure through life…

Like a good wallow and a sad movie and a snack for instance!


steel magnolias cast

ten things to watch and wallow with

Here’s ten that might get you on the self-soothing, helpful tears bandwagon:

Watch: Steel Magnolias
Eat: Red Velvet Cake/Armadillo Cake/Cake

Watch: Beaches
Eat: Hershey Bars, CCs (see what I did there?!)

Watch: ET
Eat: M&Ms, pizza, beer – OF COURSE!

Watch: Stepmom
Eat: Cocoa, turkey

Watch: Into The Wild
Eat: Sandwiches, corn chips

Watch: Gilmore Girls Episode 17, Season One
Eat: Pizza, coffee, chilli fries

Watch: Forrest Gump
Eat: A box of chocolates. Several, even.

Watch: Terms of Endearment
Eat: Oysters, Wild Turkey Bourbon

Watch: My Girl
Eat: Ice cream, marshmallows, Pie A La Mode

Watch: The Fault In Our Stars
Eat: Dragon Carrot Risotto, lots of asparagus, Champagne

 terms of endearment

Are you a bit of a watch and weep film buff? Do you have helpful tears?

(Please feel free to add further sniffly/snacky pairings in the comments below!)

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  • Reply Lisa July 30, 2016 at 12:45 AM

    I’ve just stumbled on your website and I love it. Thank you. My favourite, is a sit down with Marley and Me, with Bingo my choccie lab sitting next to me. For snacks I would munch on warming cottage pie with a cup of tea. Lovely.

  • Reply Christine July 13, 2016 at 10:16 PM

    Love your posts Beaches is one of my all time faves I watched it last Monday and introduced my daughter.

  • Reply Jay July 13, 2016 at 10:32 AM

    Reeses Pieces for ET

  • Reply Jen July 13, 2016 at 10:31 AM

    Pip, you have a knack for wallow-pairings! I’ve been pondering additions to suggest and I’m falling short. I can, however, recommend watching movies in the bath, with whisky or red wine, candlelight, and scented oils.

    Those are such interesting crying facts; I’ve long been convinced of the merits of a good cathartic cry at a film to unbottle any real-life sadness and wash away the built-up on-edge feeling that can come with life sadness, but it’s good to know some of the science behind crying.

  • Reply Saskia July 12, 2016 at 8:49 PM

    Lovely post. I’m yet to see Steel Magnolias after all these years! I really must, with a box of Kleenex.
    An excellent sniffler is The Bridges of Madison County – paired with home-cooked Italian (minestrone or leftover lasagna) and a nice glass of chianti.

  • Reply Zoe Curtis July 12, 2016 at 6:48 PM

    Love this! It’s not as sad and wallow-y in quite the right way probably, but I love watching About Time and having a good cry, perfect with tea and biscuits in true British style – custard creams and ginger nuts! Might watch it today as escapism from the dreadful politicians we seem to be plagued with.

    • Reply Nadine July 16, 2016 at 11:30 PM

      Oh my Lordy – I have just finished watching About Time. I have not cried like that for ages watching a film. Not just a weep, but the full on “ugly cry”, with running nose and all. Beautiful. Xxx

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