Human beings naturally experience many different kinds of emotion. Through several research studies, we understand there are 6 to 8 different kinds of emotions: joy, sadness, surprise, anger, fear, disgust, sadness, trust, and anticipation. (1)
One of the natural reactions in responding to sadness is crying. Culturally speaking, it is generally accepted to see women cry, but not men. For this reason, a lot of men do all they can to control their tears. However, studies show that crying provides healing in the body.
Crying releases toxins and reduces stress
There are three different types of tears: basal, reflex, and emotional. Basal tears help keep the eyes lubricated and reflex tears react to certain irritants such as onions. Emotional tears contain protein hormones that help release pain naturally and stimulate endorphins. (2)
Emotional crying helps lower harmful manganese levels, while simultaneously dropping cortisol levels. The theory behind this is that it allows the body to release toxic build up that occurs through stress. (3,4) Furthermore, Dr. William H. Frey, an expert in tears and crying, explains that crying is a stress reduction strategy, which can remove stress-induced chemicals that are toxic. (5)
Crying releases healthy emotions
According to one study conducted by the University of Florida, 88.8% of the general population feels better after releasing pent up emotions through crying, which proves that it is more effective than any antidepressant drug out on the market. (3,6)
While releasing emotions through crying benefits the general population, people with clinical depression tend to feel worse. Laura Bylsma, a PhD student at the University of Florida, who also did a study on crying, says, “We found that individuals who scored higher on [measures of] depression or anxiety were likely to feel worse after crying.” (7)
The bottom line is that emotional tears encourage healing and allow people to connect with others in a special way because they are being more vulnerable. (3) As Washington Irving once said, “There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.” (6)
So, men and women alike, it’s okay to cry. You’ll feel a whole lot better and your health will thank you for it!
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