You know what makes you cry and a lot of times you try to stop it because it feels weak or like you’re being such a girl. Turns out, tears can be good for you.
Can relieve stress
We are the only animals that shed tears from emotions, although scientists still don’t know why this physician reaction is related to our emotions. Some speculate that it helps release the pressure exerted on the body, like the physical tension created by worry or sadness.
"Crying seems to begin a moment after the peak of psychological awakening, that sympathetic nervous system activity begins to decline and parasympathetic nervous system activity begins to rise and helps bring the body back into balance," says Professor Lauren Bailesma of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
May improve mood
If you relieve the stress by crying, it can help improve your mood as well.
A survey by William Frey suggested that this might be true: 85 percent of women and 73 percent of men reported feeling better after crying. Generally, the act itself doesn’t improve the mood as much as being supported by the people around you. If you are comforted and accepted when you cry, it can make the mood even better.
Tears aid communication
Crying first appears in human interaction as a baby crying for help – help with food, discomfort, or fear. As an adult, tears convey much the same message, a feeling of helplessness. Because this exposes our weaknesses and vulnerability, we have to be careful who we communicate this with.
"Crying in front of others can increase a sense of attachment," says psychiatrist Dr. Judith Orloff. "You trust people enough to cry in their environment, creating empathic response and emotional attachment. Because we do not like to show our weaknesses to strangers, we try not to cry in front of them and instead we limit crying to those who are close to us.”
Could help cleanse toxins from the body
Biochemist William Fry presented in 1983 a groundbreaking study on crying, the results of which indicated that tears help cleanse the body of unwanted toxins. He compared tears that result from stimulation (such as following an onion cut) to tears that result from excitement and found a number of chemical differences, such as a higher protein content in emotional tears, which may result from the release of by-products from stress. These results have not been replicated, mainly because it is difficult to test in the laboratory. It is very challenging to get people to cry naturally from an emotional stimulus and collect their tears in a studied environment.
Can help soothe pain
Aside from a sense of release, but you might also feel a reduction in the pain you felt a moment before the tears started. Prolonged crying releases the hormone oxytocin and the chemical compound endorphin - two substances known as such that make you feel better and help relieve both physical and emotional pain. Once the endorphin is released in the body, the body goes into a relaxed state, while the oxytocin can give you a feeling of calm and peace of mind. A study published in 2014 , involving Dr. Beislama and Dr. Weingerhuts, confirmed this assumption and in its conclusions the researchers concluded that there was conclusive evidence for the soothing and calming effects of crying.
Clear the eyes
Crying, and especially the tears we shed in it, can be helpful when it comes to cleaning the eye and maintaining vision. When we cry, our eyes are actually cleansing themselves which can help to remove irritants and protect our eyes. In addition, tears contain lysozyme, a powerful anti-bacterial chemical that helps fight infection. Additionally, our tear ducts are actually connected to the insides of our nose. This means, when we cry, we get the same benefit of flushing out bacterial and irritants from our noses as well.
Encourages better sleep
A small study in 2015 found that crying can help babies sleep better. Whether crying has the same sleep-enhancing effect on adults is yet to be researched. However, it follows that the calming, mood-enhancing, and pain-relieving effects of crying above may help a person fall asleep more easily.