How many times do you cry a month (or week)? According to a 2010-poll conducted by Cosmopolitan, most women cry at least once per month, while 33% cry once (or more) every week.
In fact, crying does impact your body both positively and negatively, depending on what type of tears shed. Experts state that the human body can produce three types of tears: basal, reflex, and psychic.
Basal tears maintain eye moist, reflex tears eliminate a rogue eyelash, and physic tears come out after a strong emotional event. With that in mind, what actually happens to your body when you start sobbing?
#1 – Your brain doesn’t care if you’re happy or terrified
Tears can come out of joy, fear, anger, sadness, etc. Humans seem to cry for pretty much every occasion. But what’s really strange is that the human brain can’t really tell the difference between the reasons why we’re crying.
What goes on inside the body is that a region of the brain known as the hypothalamus only does one thing when you’re happy, stressed, sad, terrified, etc, and that thing is to react.
Another part of the brain known as the amygdala sends a signal to the hypothalamus through the nervous system to enable us to experience emotions. Thus, tears start coming out. And the reason behind crying doesn’t even matter.
#2 – A full-body workout!
If you don’t exercise as often as you should, you should probably consider crying more often since it’s somehow similar to getting a workout. Even if you don’t flop like a fish on the ground when you’re crying, your shoulders would still bounce and you might get a headache too. Well, there’s a lot going on inside…
According to the psychology professor, Dr. Jonathan Rottenberg, those who cry experience increased heart rates and sweating. This means that crying can be a type of workout for your body.
#3 – That “lump” in the back of your throat
When you’re about to burst into tears, you also sense a harsh lump in the back of your throat. According to experts, this is not an actual lump, but a globus sensation.
The crying person may feel like tears are choked back, while in fact, it’s just a feeling of something stuck in the throat and it can be relieved by drinking some water (even though it’s not “real.”)
#4 – Watery eyes and nose
Although we don’t get to see it in movies, tears actually come out from both the eyes and nose. So actually happens with our noses when we cry?
The liquid that comes out of your nose while crying is the same type coming out of your eyes. It’s just that the tears falling from your eyes are external and those running down your nose are internal.
This means that you’re not producing extra mucous when crying, but it’s the tears that are draining and mixing with the already-existing mucous.
#5 – Goodbye stress hormones
According to Dr. Judith Orloff, a psychiatrist, tears have healing power and transformative abilities, plus, every type of tears plays its own role in healing. She even encourages her patients to cry, explaining that emotional tears can reduce stress hormones.
Moreover, a study found that crying releases specific chemicals that are able to relieve both emotional and physical pain. In fact, many specialists and researchers do support the healing benefits of tears.
So, it seems that tears work as a natural pain-killer and stress-reliever. Who needs a prescription!
#6 – Your tears can tell how emotional you are
When doctors and scientists compared types of tears, it was found that physic (emotionally-induced) tears consist of more protein than reflex tears, while all types of tears consist of electrolytes, metabolites, lipids, and enzymes.
Actually, the reason why is unknown, but there is theory suggesting that tears with more protein are stickier and run down your face slower than other types, making the crying more noticeable to other people.
#7 – Your tears can kill bacteria
Your tears may actually be able to kill bacteria. They consist of lysozyme, which is a type of protein that works to destroy health-damaging molecules. According to a 2012-study, lysozyme in tears can even exterminate dangerous bacteria.
So we should probably stop thinking that we are just wasting our tears when crying, as we’re actually spilling natural bacteria-fighting liquid across our cheeks. However, more studies are needed to know just how beneficial crying can be.
#8 – A good cry will improve your mood
Although a few minutes of meditation or soaking in a hot bubble bath can boost your mood, a good cry session might be the self-care method you should try next.
In a study, participants watched a sad movie while researchers are assessing their moods. Around 90 minutes after the film ended, the ones who cried while watching were a better mood than before they even watched the movie.
As a conclusion, crying might be an effective way to get yourself together after a bad experience.
#9 – A good cry might make you feel worse
Well, it turns out that crying doesn’t always make you feel better. In the same study, an instant worse mood was reported after watching the sad movie. Participants’ mood took 20 minutes to start to improve and it was only after one hour and a half that they attained the best mood.
Furthermore, the place where you cry plays an interesting role in the way you’ll feel afterward. For instance, sobbing at home or around friends is beneficial and healthy, while crying at work cannot be easily accepted. Therefore, the instant after-effects of crying can have a negative impact on your mood.
Now, only you can decide whether to cry or not to cry.
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