Whether it’s to mourn the end of a close relationship, frustration at work, or even at a movie, we have all had a good cry. Crying is a natural human response to a range of emotions, including sadness, grief, joy, and frustration. It is normal and nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, tears could actually be a way of flushing toxic chemicals out of the body and doing you a world of good. Crying can have huge benefits for you physically, mentally and, of course, emotionally.
Types of tears
Humans produce three types of tears:
- Basal: Also known as continuous tears. The tear ducts constantly secrete these tears, which are a protein-rich antibacterial liquid that help to keep the eyes moist each time a person blinks. They lubricate the eyes and help protect them from infection.
- Reflex: These are tears caused by irritants such as dust, smoke, or onions. They are released to wash out these irritants and protect the eye.
- Emotional: These tears are shed in response to a variety of emotions such as grief, joy, and stress. They have a higher level of stress hormones and toxins than other types of tears.
Benefits of crying
We all cried when we were children. But now that we are grownups, many of us often try to hold back our tears in the belief that crying, mainly at work or in public, is seen as a sign of weakness, or as something to be ashamed of. But shedding tears can actually be good for your health – physically, mentally and emotionally. Here we look at why it’s good to cry.
Crying does not only mentally clean us, it can clean our body too. Like other exocrine processes, including exhaling, urinating, and sweating, toxic substances are also released from the body when we cry. Dr. William Frey, biochemist and worldwide expert on tears, discovered that tears due to emotions, such as distress or grief, contain several toxins, which means that when these tears leave your body you are cleansing yourself of those toxins.
Another benefit of crying is that it helps kill bacteria and protects the eye from infections. Basal tears contain a protein, lysozyme, a powerful and fast acting antibacterial and anti-viral agent, that can kill 90 to 95 percent of all bacteria in just five to 10 minutes. Without this, the eye, because of it’s a moist environment, would suffer enormous amounts of bacterial attack and you could probably go blind.
Crying is a helpful and safe method to manage stress. It gives an emotional relief for suppressed negative feelings, stresses, and frustrations. When humans cry in response to stress, their tears contain a number of stress hormones and other chemicals. Crying flushes these toxins out of your system, which in turn reduces stress. For example, higher levels of the chemical adrenocorticotrophic (ACTH) have been found in emotional tears. Removing this chemical from the body, via crying, is beneficial because it known to trigger cortisol, the stress hormone. Too much of cortisol can lead to health problems associated with stress.
Crying can also have the psychological benefit of lifting our mood and also helping us to deal with painful situations, such as the loss of a loved one. Shedding emotional tears releases oxytocin and endorphins. These feel-good chemicals can help ease both physical and emotional pain and give you a sense of calm or well-being. Crying can, therefore, be self-soothing and can improve your mood better than any antidepressant.
Tears help clear up and improve our vision by lubricating the eyeball and eyelid. When the membranes of the eyes are dehydrated, our vision may become a little blurry. Basal tears, which are released each time a person blinks, help to keep the eyes moist and prevent mucous membranes from drying out. Crying also aids avoid the dehydration of numerous mucous membranes.
Crying can express what words cannot, specifically in a relationship. Crying can put an end to a fight, highlight a point not gotten across in words, or simply emphasize the importance of the feelings behind a dialogue. Moreover, crying is also a way to let those around you know you are in need of support, and this helps bring people together. People are usually more likely to help someone when they see them in tears.
If you feel the need to cry, don’t hold back your tears. Tears are a normal, healthy way to express emotion. So, don’t be scared of crying, especially because it has a lot of benefits for you. However, if crying happens regularly, uncontrollably, or for no reason, it could be a symptom of depression. If this is the case, it is a good idea to consult your doctor.
“What soap is for the body, tears are for the soul.” – Jewish Proverb
Disclaimer: All material on Hidoc.co is provided for informational purposes only and should not be taken as a substitute for professional medical or health advice. Always seek the advice of your physician for any questions regarding your symptoms or medical condition and before taking any home remedies or supplements.