The act of crying has got so much bad press, that it may be difficult to perceive the positive aspects of crying. The following article throws some light on the benefits of crying.
Japan is one of the few countries to promote crying clubs, wherein movies and television serials that make the audience cry are shown. Quite a few people visit these clubs in the evening to relieve work-related stress.
Who says crying is detrimental to health? So much has been said about the positive impact of laughing, that people tend to associate social stigma with crying. The sad face while crying may be an eyesore, but one cannot make any judgment simply on the basis of what appears outwardly.
Crying too can be good for health, as found out in a few studies. Although the benefits of crying do not outnumber those linked with laughing, they certainly cannot be ignored. So, if you feel like crying after an unhappy event, let those tears of sorrow flow unrestricted. Stopping these tears can actually be self-harming. The act of crying allows suppressed emotions and tensions to escape. This may actually help to relieve stress, bust depression, and uplift mood.
Health Benefits of Crying
Crying can be helpful to release emotional stress that is considered to a major trigger in the development of heart problems, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. In a 15-year study on human tears, conducted at the University of Minnesota under the guidance of Dr William Frey, it was observed that crying helps in flushing chemicals/hormones that form under stress.
Some of the major stress hormones are eliminated out of the body via tears. Researchers, however, pointed out that tears released while cutting onions are not effective to reduce stress. The study found out that tears resulting from grief, sadness, or after feeling hurt are found to be high in protein-based hormones and adrenocorticotropic hormones. All these hormones are usually secreted as a response to stress. This is the reason people inflicted with sorrow and emotional pain tend to feel better after crying. Also, while crying, we tend to take deep breaths, which also contributes in alleviating stress.
Apart from relieving stress, crying may also help to improve mood. A study reported in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 2008 observed the effects as well as the reasons behind crying. Happy tears after a commendable achievement were providing the maximum amount of improvement in mood. Elevation in mood was also observed when there was someone to console while crying. Crying over personal loss, be it a valuable thing or someone dear, may allow you to cope up with the situation and you may feel better afterwards.
Another theory suggested by scientists links low magnesium levels associated with crying, to elevated mood. It is observed that too much manganese in the body can cause an adverse impact on mood, that manifests in the form of nervousness and emotional disturbances. However, as tears contain substantial amounts of manganese, the act of crying can lead to a drop in magnesium levels, which may have a positive impact on mood.
It is often said that negative feelings, if allowed to accumulate, cause mental disorders such as depression. Crying helps to vent out these deep-seated emotions, making you feel better. Not letting go off these buried emotions can also trigger a wide range of chronic illnesses including diabetes and arthritis. So, releasing this emotional buildup via crying is very important for overall well-being.
Apart from exercise and laughter, even the act of crying releases endorphin’s – chemicals that give an euphoric high. Endorphin’s also display analgesic properties, meaning they prevent pain signals from reaching the brain. This indicates that endorphin’s associated with crying may also help to alleviate physical pain. So, if your feel like crying after a traumatic experience, don’t hesitate.
Acts as an Eye Wash
Studies on human tears have revealed that they contain lysozyme, an enzyme that is well-known for its antibacterial properties. The enzyme destroys the bacterial cell wall, essential for their survival. This antimicrobial property of human tears helps stop the bacteria from causing eye infections. Also, reflex tears that are released after exposure to smoke, dust, and onions actually help protect the eyes from harm, and prevent injuries from these irritants. These tears, that we don’t like to see, actually keep the eyes safe from the environment.
Emotional tears that arise from sadness are full of toxic chemicals, as found out in one study. The chemical buildup that accumulates when facing high stress levels is released through tears.
Lowers Blood Pressure
It is observed that blood pressure reduces following a crying session. The release of trapped emotions after crying makes us feel better, which contributes in lowering blood pressure and heart rate. Besides lowering blood pressure, crying bouts also help in reducing pulse rate.
Although crying does have benefits, you don’t have to reduce yourself to tears every now and then. Only when you find that you are no longer able to carry the burden of emotional pain, especially from traumatic episodes, go ahead and have a good cry.