“I always like walking in the rain, so no one can see me crying.” These are the famous words of Charlie Chaplin. The act of crying is an integral part of human nature. This was your natural language when you were a baby. At first thought, you cry because you don’t feel good. So, why ask if the act of crying will make you feel any better?
You cry for various reasons. You cry when you watch a sentimental movie, read a sad story, and even listen to a sentimental song. You also cry when you sense deep sadness, like breaking up with your partner or losing a loved one. You also shed a tear when you are super happy.
Whatever the reason may be, crying is part of life. So what is particularly the science behind why crying can make you feel good? Read this content to know more.
Why Do Humans Cry?
Crying or sobbing is part of your biological and natural makeup as a human. Your body takes in both good and bad chemicals daily. The body has its way of releasing these toxins through your bodily wastes, sweat, saliva, and tears. Humans are the only living creatures that can cry due to bottled-up emotions. Animals shed tears to lubricate their eyes and not to express any feelings.
Sometimes it is good to sob alone. It gives you time to feel, understand and accept the emotion you are feeling. You want to experience being alone when you are shedding tears of sadness or happiness. This is your personal process. After sobbing hard and after telling your family or friends about frustration or problem, you’ll actually feel a lot better.
You are a social being, and you experience various emotions day in and day out. Crying good is not simply the release of emotions. Crying is also a language that tells people you need help. You want to feel better. You want to connect to others and seek comfort.
Types of Tears
Tears play an important function in our eyes. Tears are mostly water that protects the eyes from external particles. It keeps them moist and lubricated. Tears act as filters for the eyes. The three types of tears are listed below according to their function:
These are considered the basic tears that contain water, salt, oil, and mucus. This helps against infection. The oil component prevents the tears from evaporating.
These tears remove the toxins that come into your eyes. These keep your eyes clean. These come out from the glands under your eyebrows when you get dust in your eyes or when you peel onions.
Emotional tears are the third type and are considered the most beneficial to a person’s health. These emotional tears release stress-inducing hormones as well as toxic substances that are bad for your health. Crying releases both oxytocin and endorphins which are happy hormones that relieve emotional and physical hurt.
Why Does it Feel Good to Cry: Benefits of Crying
Crying is a biological response of the body. This happens when you experience extreme feelings like grief and happiness. Crying has been proven to have many health benefits.
Crying has a purifying and cleansing effect on a person’s health. Medical practitioners of ancient times have testified to this. At present, psychologists look at crying as a tool for relieving stress and pain. Crying also promotes healthy family relationships, better attachment, closeness, and compassion.
The Benefits of Crying
- Cleanses the body of harmful chemicals: Emotional tears not only consist of water. These tears also contain harmful chemicals that the body should release.
- Aids in self-soothing: Studies show that crying triggers the Parasympathetic Nervous System. This system handles the body’s rest and digestion.
- Lessens the pain: Crying releases oxytocin and endorphins, the happy hormones. As soon as these chemicals are released, the human frame starts to relax. It becomes somewhat insensitive. You feel less stressed and less tense. You then start to sense calm and relaxation.
- Better mood: Crying relieves not only stress and pain but also boosts your mood. This improves your mental health. Every time you shed tears, you inhale oxygen. This helps your body regulate and decreases your brain’s temperature.
- Crying builds bonding and support: Crying has interpersonal benefits. When you sob, it signals to the people around you that you need help and support. Being with the right people will increase your sense of connection. You don’t just sob in front of random strangers. You sob when you are in the comfort of the people you are close to. The people around you will provide the comfort and care that you seek.
- Vital for recovering from grief: Grief is an intense emotion that should not be held in. Crying has a survival purpose. Crying will help you understand and accept the reason behind your grief, such as the death of a loved one.
- Re-establishes emotional stability: Crying is your body’s way of maintaining balance when you have experienced both sadness and joy.
- Improves communication: Newborns upon delivery should cry. This is their way of being able to breathe on their own. This is their language to convey they need something from their caregivers. In adults, crying is a non-verbal language. Crying is a language that tells people you need help and comfort.
- Crying is a manipulative language: When you cry, it can defuse the anger of the person who got mad at you. Their anger towards you neutralizes to avoid further damages or conflicts. Crying can cause the person who made you cry to feel guilty. Sometimes, you cry to convince others to give in to you. This is very common for toddlers who cry just to get what they want.
Crying May Differ in Men and Women
Crying is considered to have both personal and social purposes. Some individuals cry in public, while others prefer to do it alone. Research shows that women cry more than men. Women, on average, cry five times a month. In contrast, the men cry an average of once a month.
Women are considered more emotional and sensitive than men. Females sob easily over a sad or sentimental movie or song that they can relate to. Due to differences in culture, men are more inclined to hold back their tears than women. In this regard, females feel more liberated. They have a regulated mood and are comfortable, for they can sob openly than males.
Biologically, males don’t sob as much as females. This is because they have higher levels of testosterone. The changes in the levels of estrogen in females during PMS can increase their chances of crying. The same happens during postpartum.
Is It Better to Cry or Hold It In?
When you try so hard to hold back from crying, you put your health at risk and make you feel even worse. According to studies, if you hold back your tears, you are prone to many medical problems. You can have hypertension and a poor immune system. You could develop cardiovascular disease and other stress-related illnesses.
If you hold back your tears, you feel emotionally worse. This is because you cannot gesture to the people around you that you need help and comfort. For some, crying is a sign of weakness, and that they do not want people to know that they need help and comfort.
Other people’s responses to your crying will have a big impact on how you will feel after. You will most likely feel recovered if they respond with sympathy. You may be ashamed if they make fun of your crying.
Does Crying Actually Make You Feel Worse?
If you cry around negative people who will make fun of you, most likely you will feel worse. You badly want to sob, but you are trying not to for fear of being shamed. At the onset of the emotion, you will normally feel bad. After you sob, its healing capabilities will start to work in your human frame, and you will feel better.
Physical Effects of Crying
What happens to your physical frame when you have an intense episode of crying? You experience headaches, a runny nose and saliva, puffy red eyes, and a trembling body. Before you experience the calming advantages of crying, you first have to be in the arousal state. Crying is the effect of the flight-or-fright response of the body. This puts you in a high arousal state. Crying causes increased heart rates and sweating.
Is It Healthy to Cry Every Day?
Too much crying is not good. Excessive crying can irritate the eyes. You will end up with big, red, puffy eyes.
When Is Crying Dangerous?
Crying could also be very dangerous and is an indicator of a serious mental health problem. Consider the following situations below when crying can be unsafe:
- Abnormally frequent crying
- Crying for no reason
- Uncontrollable crying
- Crying that affects your everyday life
Also, some individuals are diagnosed with clinical depression. They are unable to sob even if they want to. Whether you are crying excessively or not, it is best to seek professional treatment.
Cry if You Must
Just like Charlie Chaplin, your life is sometimes a silent movie. There are times when words are not enough to express what you feel. A single drop of tear can convey a thousand words. Crying is a powerful weapon, and your tears are your bullets.
If you feel sad or happy and you want to cry, go ahead and let it out. Allow yourself to experience all these feelings. Crying may be therapeutic for you. But, if crying is causing more problems than healing, it is time to seek professional help.
Kentucky Counseling Center (KCC) and its team of counselors are here to wipe your tears away. Crying is a wonderful phenomenon that your body goes through. At KCC, you don’t have to feel ashamed about shedding a tear. KCC will support and comfort you. So, cry if you must.