There are many theories about why we have emotions and what the purpose of them are. They can be confusing, joyful, surprising and sometimes just plain annoying. However one of the most powerful visual indicators of our emotional state seems to provide us with the biggest challenge. Why do we hate to cry?
New evidence suggests that there may be more to crying than just expressing feelings and that it can be good for you. Scientific research has found that tears produced by emotional crying, may be one of the ways that the body disposes of toxic substances.
Dr. William Frey II, Ph.D., biochemist, and tear expert at the Ramsey Medical Centre in Minneapolis, Minnesota has discovered that reflex tears are 98% water, while emotional tears contain much more protein, which includes stress hormones. His conclusion was that emotional tears release harmful chemicals that had build up in the body, due to stress.
Additional studies argue that crying may stimulate the release of endorphins, substances that elevate our mood and are natural pain killers.
Still need more reasons to have a good cry?
1. Tears Help Us See
The most basic function of tears is that they enable us to see. Tears not only lubricate our eyeballs and eyelids, they also prevent dehydration of our various mucous membranes. Jerry Bergman writes, “Without tears, life would be drastically different for humans–in the short run enormously uncomfortable, and in the long run eyesight would be blocked out altogether.”
2. Tears Kill Bacteria
Our tears are antibacterial and antiviral and they fight off germs. they contain lysozyme, a fluid that can kill 90-95% of all bacteria in just five to ten minutes.
3. Tears Remove Toxins
Biochemist William Frey, found in one study that emotional tears–those formed in distress or grief–contained more toxic by-products than tears of irritation. As we cry the toxins that are built up from stress are released.
4. Tears release Feelings Even if you haven’t just been through something traumatic or are severely depressed, we go through our days accumulating little conflicts and resentments.. As John Bradshaw writes in his bestseller Home Coming, “All these feelings need to be felt. We need to stomp and storm; to sob and cry; to perspire and tremble.”
5. Crying Lowers Stress
In ‘The Miracle of Tears’ Jerry Bergman explains that tears remove some of the chemicals that build up in the body from stress, like the endorphins leucine-enkaphalin and prolactin. The opposite is true too. Bergman writes, ‘Suppressing tears increases stress levels, and contributes to diseases aggravated by stress, such as high blood pressure, heart problems, and peptic ulcers.’
So Whether you embrace your emotions or try to hide them, remember that sometimes they are just the thing you need to make yourself feel better.
Even Aristotle theorized that a good cry ‘cleanses the mind.’