Sad movies help reduce pain

[Health ★★★]


(P1) Watching sad movies can be just what the doctor ordered. A study shows that sad movies may boost our tolerance to pain. Researchers say that sad movies can increase the number of endorphins released by the brain. These chemicals are our body’s natural painkillers. They relieve physical or emotional pain. Dr. Robin Dunbar said the distress people get from tragedy triggers the endorphin system and relieves our pain.

(P2) Dr. Dunbar conducted tests to find out the effect sad stories have on us. One group of people watched a sad movie about a disabled man fighting homelessness, drugs, and alcohol. Another group watched a film on Britain’s geology. The pain tolerance of those who watched the sad film increased by 13.1%, while the pain tolerance for those who watched the documentary decreased by 4.6%. One reason we like sad movies is the natural high we get from the endorphins.

WORDS: 148


VOCABULARY: tolerance, endorphins, distress, triggers, geology


If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Do you like to watch sad movies? Why or why not?
  3. What are some things that can cause people emotional pain?
  4. What do you do if you have emotional or physical pain?


  1. According to the study, what goes up when people watch sad movies?
  2. What do endorphins alleviate?
  3. Who managed the tests in the research?
  4. The research involved three groups of people. (T or F)
  5. What kind of high is produced when people watch sad movies?


What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • the doctored ordered (P1)
  • our body’s natural painkillers (P1)
  • the effect of sad stories (P2)
  • pain tolerance (P2)
  • natural high (P2)

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