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Crying Is Human
There are times in my life that my grief has resulted in tears. Whenever it happens, I’m caught by surprise. I used to believe crying was a form of fragility, signalling to others to approach with caution.
But tears are a natural part of our human expression.
We cannot always predict what will cause them to form, and when they will come. When they do, it can hurt us more to restrain them than to just let them out.
There’s Nothing Wrong With Tears
There is nothing inherently wrong with crying. Some people are more empathic and sensitive than others – they feel more deeply and may cry more often. Tears are a universal sign that attracts comfort. I’ve never ignored a friend or stranger who is crying; their tears let me know they are experiencing something uneasy.
If you think about the opposite reaction – if we don’t embrace our crying and instead hold back our tears – we are actually suppressing our emotions and even isolating ourselves in that moment.
Expressing emotion is healthy for all humans, and crying is one of our bodies’ ways of releasing pain.
The Science Behind Crying – 4 Helpful Facts
1. Tears can boost immunity
In a study from the University of Minnesota, Dr. William Frey noted that tears contain chemicals that the body produces in response to stress. By holding back our tears, we may become more susceptible to stress-related illnesses.1 After shedding tears, most people felt less sad, angry, and stressed, and they also received a boost in immunity.
2. Crying can ease pain
Crying releases endorphins and oxytocin. These neurotransmitters make us feel better and are thought to mitigate both physical and emotional discomfort. Therefore, crying not only boosts our mood, but it can also make us more immune to pain.2
3. Crying helps us cope
According to Judith Orloff, MD, crying helps to resolve grief. When we cry in response to a loss, the tears are a means to process our experience and open our hearts back up.3
4. Crying is good for our bodies
Steven Sideroff, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at UCLA explains that when we are stressed, our muscles become tight and tense. Crying releases the tension and restores the body to a balanced state.4
Crying Is Communicating
I believe that crying is a critical form of communication and a means to connect with others. It shows us that someone is suffering and in need of comfort. As humans, we should be supporting one another, not shaming each other for expressing grief or sadness.
“Crying is how the body speaks when your mouth can’t explain the pain it feels.” – Anonymous
- “Biological Role Of Emotional Tears Emerges Through Recent Studies.” 31 Aug. 1982, https://www.nytimes.com/1982/08/31/science/biological-role-of-emotional-tears-emerges-through-recent-studies.html. Accessed 19 Jan. 2019.
- “Is crying a self-soothing behavior? – NCBI – NIH.” 7 May. 2014, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4035568/. Accessed 19 Jan. 2019.
- “The Healing Power of Tears – Judith Orloff MD.” https://drjudithorloff.com/the-healing-power-of-tears/. Accessed 19 Jan. 2019.
- “Crying: The Health Benefits of Tears – WebMD.” https://www.webmd.com/balance/features/is-crying-good-for-you. Accessed 19 Jan. 2019.