Posted by Megan Bell on 16 December, 2017
Charles Darwin once declared emotional tears "purposeless", listing three reasons for the secretion of tears: “The primary function of the secretion of tears, with some mucus, is to lubricate the surface of the eye, and a secondary one, as some believe, is to keep the nostrils damp, so that the inhaled air may be moist, and likewise to favour the power of smelling. But another, and at least equally important function of tears is to wash out particles of dust or other minute objects which may get into the eyes”.
150 years later, emotional crying remains one of the human body's more confounding mysteries. Humans are the only creatures whose tears can be triggered by their emotions. In babies we know that tears have the crucial role of getting attention and care from their parents, but what about us adults? Science doubts that crying has any real benefit beyond the physiological, that crying is to lubricate the eyes. I think most of us can agree there is much more to crying than science or Darwins theory allows us to beleive.
Crying is more than sadness. Empathy, grief, love... Tears are a signal that others can see. Crying is a release that shows ourselves and others that there is a problem and we are momentarily unable to cope, tears also show that we are vulnerable and vulnerability is crititcal to the human connection. Being able to cry emotionally when feeling compassion or empathy for another and being able to respond to anothers emotion is a very important part of being human. The world teaches us that showing emotion makes you weak when infact, showing emotion takes serious strength. It is through emotion that we are able to connect the dots and "figure things out", to really feel. This feeling guides us to doing what is right, for us or for others around us.
Ad Vingerhoets conducted studies in over 5,000 people in more than 37 countries that showed that 52% of people report feeling better after crying. The international study on adults crying showed that women cry 2 to 5 times a month, while men cry once every 2 months! But does not crying affect you? The study also showed that people who cried less or hardly at all had a tendancy to withdraw and describe their relationships as less connected. They also expereinced more aggressive feelings, like rage, anger and disgust, than those who cry more often.
I beleive that crying is like an emotional workout for your body, it's hard to do but when its over you feel so much better. It is the ultimate emotional and physical detox, good for the mind, body and soul and shouldn't be suppressed, holding back tears seems it would result in the opposite. Tears contain toxins and ACTH, which is known to be increase in stress. If you can alleviate stress, you can prevent stress damage to the heart and brain, and improve long-term survival. We shouldn’t be conditioning young children not to cry, we should be happy that they have the ability. Tears also release feel-good chemicals into the body as well as lysozyme, which is both antibacterial and antiviral, and glucose, which nourishes the cells on the surface of the eye and inside the eyelids.
Crying makes us feel better, even when a problem persists. In addition to physical detoxification, emotional tears heal the heart. You don’t want to hold tears back. Try to let go of outmoded, untrue, conceptions about crying. It is good to cry. It is healthy to cry. This helps to emotionally clear sadness and stress. Crying is also essential to resolve grief, when waves of tears periodically come over us after we experience a loss. Tears help us process the loss so we can keep living with open hearts. Otherwise, we are a set up for depression if we suppress these potent feelings.
It takes great courage to cry. I cry a lot, I am a very emotional person but I have always beleived that to be a good thing. I even got my husband to open up and cry more! No seriously, sometimes people act in anger when really inside they are just hurting but too afraid to open up and admit their feelings, it is when these feelings are allowed to come out that we feel better. Accompanied by these feelings are usually a lot of suppressed pain and emotion that has been held on to. I love to cry. I cry whenever I can. Thank God our bodies have this capacity. I hope you too can appreciate the experience.
Let your tears flow to purify stress and negativity, knowing that you have real strength and courage and are on the right path to truly feeling better. When there is an issue or a problem, go to the root, don't stay on the surface because on the surface level the problem will never really go away. Go to the root and explore how you really feel, find the weed and rip it out for good.