If, like me, you're a champion cry-athlete then I have good news for you: crying over TV shows is good for you. Becoming attached to fictional characters and the thorny narratives they're tangled up in can help purge us of negative, pent-up emotions, decrease feelings of loneliness and boost our self-esteem.
Researchers from have also found that people who watch meaningful entertainment are more likely to help people of a different age and race to them. Erica Bailey, a doctoral student at Penn State said that "not only are [these people] more altruistic, but they are more willing to offer help to people from different groups outside of their own."
In a post-Trump world, we need to have a cathartic cry more than ever, and it seems that the writers and producers behind shows like This Is Us are answering those needs
Here are some brilliant TV shows, past and present, to give you a good old weep and restore your faith in humanity.
In our expanding landscape of boundary-pushing TV, Transparent, which debuted on Amazon in February 2014 and whose fourth season is due to show on Amazon Prime Video later this year, is riding the waves. Directed by Jill Solloway, the show centres around the wealthy Jewish Pfefferman family from LA following the discovery that their father Mort is transgender. Each tightly crafted episode unapologetically explores the themes of Judaism, trans politics and inherited trauma, and there's no other TV series like it at the moment.
The much-loved BBC drama follows the lives of midwives working in East London's fictional nursing convent, Nonnatus House in the late 1950s-1960s. Covering tough subjects like Down's syndrome and Female Genital Mutilation, as well as domestic violence, its plots are gritty and hard-hitting, and its Christmas specials will tug at your heart strings like you never thought possible.
This six-season series follows the messy lives of the Braverman clan through their many sit-down meals and montages is the ultimate tear-jerking TV fodder. Adam coming to terms with his son Max's Asperger's and later watching the videos that his sick wife Kristina left her three children in the event of her death will have you blubbering like a baby.
On paper, a show that centres around a family who own a funeral home smacks of doom and gloom. But, Six Feet Under is laden with dark situational humour and irony, and is in fact all about our interaction with death and how we cope with it. Its heartbreaking final episode will surely go down in history as one of the greatest TV series finales of all time.
Black-ish, about a family man who struggles to gain a sense of cultural identity while raising his kids in a predominantly white, middle-class American neighbourhood is a comedy that places race issues at the fore. In one emotional episode, Hope, we get the incredibly tear-jerking moment where Dre explains to his wife that he was "terrified" watching Obama's inauguration. "Tell me you weren't worried that someone was going to snatch that hope away from us like they always do," Dre says to Bow. "That is the real world, Bow, and our children need to know that that's the world they live in."
Chock-full of deaths, break-ups and medical emergencies, Grey's Anatomy, the medical series following the lives of the residents and doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital will make you weep uncontrollably. Probably best not to watch too many episodes in a row, unless you want your tear ducts to have a real workout.