A number of articles over the past few years have posted the question: Why Do We Cry?
Reading through them, the short answer seems to be that there is no short answer. It's complicated.
In this post, we’ll take a quick tour of what we know about crying, what new research has added to our state of knowledge and what questions remain?
What are the Tears?
The eyes have both internal and external fluids. Tears are the external fluid. They flow over the eye’s front surface (cornea and sclera) keeping it moist and removing tiny particles of dust and debris. This helps to keep vision clear, removing potential obstacles to the passage of light. Each time we blink, the tears are spread over the eye surface.
How are tears form?
When tear is produced from the lacrimal gland that sits in-between your eyeball and eyelid, you spontaneously blink, spreading the tear as a film across your eye. ... Psychic tears even contain a natural painkiller, called leucine enkephalin – perhaps, part of the reason why you might feel better after a good cry!
Why do people Cry?
We can cry out of sadness, fear, frustration, anger, or even joy. But why do streams of liquid leave our eyes The truth is no one really knows for sure. That is to say, scientists don’t agree why tears stream down our cheeks and we’re wracked with spasms, and of course, the telltale Wailing and sobbing that comprise having a full-blown cry. There’s also great variety among humans. We all have a different threshold for the act. Some of us never cry at all.
In a scientific sense, we’re the only organisms who tear up due to our emotions. Other creatures do so merely to remove irritants from their eyes. Many psychologists believe that in addition to giving us an outlet for a rapid build-up of powerful emotions, Crying is a social signal to others that were in distress. Care-taking at times of great stress can increase the bonds between individuals in a group, making them more in tune with one another, better able to communicate and understand each other, increasing teamwork among them and so their likelihood of survival.
What are the reasons for crying?
Sometimes you will cry because something awful has happened, and I’m so sorry; I genuinely wish that you never have to cry for this reason. Most of the time, however, you’re probably crying because of something really stupid. Let me help you understand your tears better.
Hungry isn’t just for babies, but if you’re hungry you’re probably crying like one. It’s when you’re so hungry you get super angry, and everything becomes overwhelming so you bawl. In the case of hunger crying, the waterworks can be turned off with a prompt feeding. Having someone around to burp you afterward is a plus.
It’s indefinable, self-indulgent, and most of all, will repel anyone you try to talk to, but sometimes you just get this universal feeling about life (mostly your life. What am I saying, completely your life), and it’s so ambiguous and grand that you can’t quite put your finger on it, so you cry instead. My best advice is the reserve this one for the workplace toilet stall and sleepless nights alone at 2 a.m.
You’ll often be able to pre-empt this by identifying delirium. For instance, say you’ve just caught a red-eye flight, were unable to sleep (because let’s face it, you have to be a complete sociopath or have some really, really good drugs to actually be able to get any proper shut-eye on a plane), went straight to work where, by your third coffee, at around 4 p.m. you found yourself laughing hysterically at nonsense jokes and talking in high pitched giggles about serious things, you’re in for some serious tears by 5 p.m. The delirium will abate into a moody silence and by the time you’re on the subway you’ll be dripping snot into your lap and sobbing like a small child who just wants to curl up on mom’s lap.
Is it your birthday? Are you upset because you’re spending it without your loved ones? Sad that you’re getting older? So overwhelmed with love and happiness? Didn’t get the right gift? If it’s your birthday you can cry as much as you want, especially if you’re drunk. It’s basically the only time you’re going to be entitled to sympathy and attention for drunk crying anyway, so you may as well embrace it.
Benefits of Crying?
Researchers have found that crying can benefit both your body and your mind, and these benefits begin at birth with a baby’s first cry. Keep reading to learn more about the health benefits of crying
1. Detoxifies the body
There are three different types of tears:
● Reflex tears
● Continuous tears
● Emotional tears
Reflex tears clear debris, like smoke and dust, from your eyes. Continuous tears lubricate your eyes and help protect them from infection. Emotional tears may have many health benefits. Whereas continuous tears contain 98 percent water, emotional tears Contain stress hormones and other toxins. Researchers have theorized that crying flushes these things out of your system, though more research is needed in this area.
2. Helps self-soothe
Crying may be one of your best mechanisms to self-soothe. Researchers have found that crying activates the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). The PNS helps your body rest and digest. The benefits aren’t immediate, however. It may take several minutes of shedding tears before you feel the soothing effects of crying.
3. Dulls pain
Crying for long periods of time releases oxytocin and endogenous opioids, otherwise known as endorphins. These feel-good chemicals can help ease both physical and emotional pain. Once the endorphins are released, your body may go into somewhat of a numb stage. Oxytocin can give you a sense of calm or well-being. It’s another example of how crying is a self-soothing action.
4. Improves mood
Along with helping you ease the pain, crying, specifically sobbing, May even lift your spirits. When you sob, you take in many quick breaths of cool air. Breathing in the cooler air can help regulate and even lower the temperature of your brain. A cool brain is more pleasurable to your body and mind than a warm brain. As a result, your mood may improve after a sobbing episode.
5. Rallies support
If you’re feeling blue, crying is a way to let those around you know you are in need of support. This is known as an Interpersonal benefit. From the time you were a baby, crying has been an attachment behavior. Its function is in many ways to obtain comfort and care from others. In other words, it helps to build up your social support network when the going gets tough.
6. Helps you recover from grief
Grieving is a process. It involves periods of sorrow, numbness, guilt, and anger. Crying is particularly important during periods of grieving. It May even help you process and accept the loss of a loved one. Everyone goes through the grieving process in different ways. If you find that your crying is extreme or starting to interfere with your everyday life, it might be a good idea to check in with your doctor.
7. Restores emotional balance
Crying doesn’t only happen in response to something sad. Sometimes you may cry when you are extremely happy, scared, or stressed. Researchers believe crying in this way may help to restore emotional equilibrium. When you’re incredibly happy or scared about something and cry, it may be your body’s way to recover from experiencing such a strong emotion.
8. Helps baby breathe
A baby’s very first cry out of the womb is a very important cry. Babies receive their oxygen inside the womb through the umbilical cord. Once a baby is delivered, they must start breathing on their own. The first cry is what helps a baby’s lungs adapt to life in the outside world.
Crying also helps babies clear out any extra fluid in the lungs, nose, and mouth.
Is too much of Cry is Good or Bad?? -Of course, crying can get out of hand. If you find yourself crying all the time or for no real reason, then it might indicate a serious underlying problem, such as depression.
“Crying continuously because you feel helpless or overwhelmingly sad, or crying without knowing why you’re crying, is not healthy,” .
If this goes on for two weeks or longer, or if your crying episodes are interfering with some aspect of your life, like your job or relationships, then it might be a good idea to get professional help to work through those underlying emotions.
Dr Uday Nath Sahoo (M.B.B.S,General Practitioner & Pathologist) is a very experienced (48+ years) doctor. He hails from Odisha, India. He has been an active member with YHK.