But we are here to say.... 'Go ahead and cry, Baby!' Shedding tears has some surprising health benefits, not to mention its power as a mood and emotional stabalizer.
When researching this topic, we couldn't find a better summary than the one created by Lizette Borreli last year, so we are quoting her 6 Surprising Health Benefits of Shedding a Few Tears below.
These photos are all copyrighted by Rose-Lynn Fisher and you can see the whole series here. Take a look:
Scientists divide tears into three categories (and there's a great summary of this on this TED-Ed video):
- The Basal Tears – Basal tears are virtually unfelt and we are usually oblivious to their work everyday. These tears contain three thin layers and are designed to help keep dirt and other harmful substances away from the eyes, keeping it hygienic and functioning well.
- The Reflex Tears – These kinds of tears are released from the eyes when coming across external substances which the eyes sense as harmful and can be dangerous for the body, such as the chemicals that come out of peeling onions, strong aerial pollution and chlorine when opening your eyes underwater in a swimming pool. These tears contains antibodies that help combat microorganisms from functioning and damaging the eyes in the long run. (This might help you feel less annoyed when having to chop onions for dinner!)
- The Emotional Tears – And lastly, emotional tears are the most common kind of tears that we know, which are shed when we are experiencing strong emotional highs or lows. They have been found to contain protein-based hormones including the neurotransmitter leudine enkephalin, a natural painkiller that is released when the body is under stress.
But meanwhile, let's have those 6 health benefits of the benefits of crying:
(written by Lizette Borreli)
1. RELEASES TOXINS Crying does not only mentally cleanse us, it can cleanse our body too. Tears that are produced by stress help the body get rid of chemicals that raise cortisol, the stress hormone. A study conducted by Dr. William H. Frey II, a biochemist and director of the Psychiatry Research Laboratories at the St. Paul-Ramsey Medical Centre, found like other exocrine processes, including exhaling, urinating, and sweating, toxic substances are released from the body when we cry. Several of the chemicals present in emotional crying are the protein prolactin, adrenocorticotropic hormones, and the endorphin leucine-enkephalin, which reduces pain.
2. KILLS BACTERIA A good cry can also be a good way to kill bacteria. Tears contain the fluid lysozyme — also found in human milk, semen, mucus and saliva — that can kill 90 to 95 percent of all bacteria in just five to 10 minutes. A 2011 study published in the journal Food Microbiology found tears have such strong antimicrobial powers they can even protect against the intentional contamination of anthrax. Lysozyme can kill certain bacteria by destroying bacteria cell walls — the rigid outer shell that provides a protective coating.
3. IMPROVES VISION Tears, made by the lacrimal gland, can actually clear up our vision by lubricating the eyeballs and eyelids. When the membranes of the eyes are dehydrated, our eyesight may become a little blurry. Tears bathe the surface of the eye, says the National Eye Institute, keeping it moist, and wash away dust and debris. Crying also prevents the dehydration of various mucous membranes.
4. IMPROVES MOOD Tears can elevate our mood better than any antidepressant available. A 2008 study from the University of South Florida found crying can be self-soothing and elevate mood better than any antidepressant. The shedding of tears improved the mood of almost 90 percent of criers compared to the eight percent who reported crying made them feel worse. Individuals with anxiety or mood disorders were less likely to experience the positive effects of crying.
5. RELIEVES STRESS A good cry can provide a feeling of relief, even if our circumstances still remain the same. Crying is known to release stress hormones or toxins from the body, and as a result, reduces tension. Martin believes crying is a healthier alternative to punching the wall or “stuffing your feelings,” which can lead to physical health problems like headaches or high blood pressure. “Crying is a safe and effective way to deal with stress,” he said. “It provides an emotional release of pent up negative feelings, stresses, and frustrations.”
6. BOOSTS COMMUNICATION Crying can show what words cannot express, especially in a relationship. This is mostly seen when a person in the relationship is having a different reaction to a situation that isn’t transparent until tears begin to show. For example, “Someone may be trying to play it cool, or hold it together, or be out of touch with emotions — that are suddenly apparent when one person starts to cry," says April Masini, relationship expert and author.
So next time you feel your eyes welling up a little, indulge this feeling, whatever it is, and let the tears flow. You're being true to yourself, and you may gain a lot by having a good cry.
Initial research by Troy Cabida
Written and Edited by Heidi Hollis