catharsis

Use the noun catharsis to refer to the experience a person can have of releasing emotional tension and feeling refreshed afterwards.

Conceived by Aristotle as the cleansing effect of emotional release that tragic drama has on its audience, catharsis stems from a Greek verb meaning "to purify, purge." Today, it can be used to describe any emotional release, including a good long laugh or cry that is followed by a sense of balance and freshness afterwards.

Definitions of catharsis
  1. noun
    purging the body by the use of a cathartic to stimulate evacuation of the bowels
    synonyms: katharsis, purgation
    see moresee less
    type of:
    purge, purging
    an act of removing by cleansing; ridding of sediment or other undesired elements
  2. noun
    (psychoanalysis) purging of emotional tensions
    synonyms: abreaction, katharsis
    see moresee less
    type of:
    purge, purging
    an act of removing by cleansing; ridding of sediment or other undesired elements
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