We couldn't have eyesight without tears, as tear's lubricates our eyes. Simply, cutting an onion gives us tears. Tears comes out for ample reasons say, being elated, happy, sad, stress, fear or even fake crocodile tears. But not all tears that flow mounts to crying. Again crying episodes are being more common in infants, children than adults. Gender differences of crying seen as women being more prone than men. Crying has to happen due to an emotion cause. Be it a human being or an animal, everyone has emotions. As human beings, we are more sensitive and expressive, therefore, the reactions are more prominent and blunt .Each of us has to let out our emotions by crying, laughter, excitement, happiness or sadness. Some does it quite openly while others discreetly. Just as laughter, crying off course, is an ultimate medicine to let out our pain, hurt and sadness.
But what is crying? By scientific definition, it is the flow of tears from lacrimal gland which lies between the eyelids and eyeball due to a strong emotional reaction. Unlike lacrimation (free flowing of tears), crying is always associated with emotions. Again, what are these tears and why do they come? Tears flow from the lacrimal punctum which lies in the lacrimal gland drains off spontaneously through our cheeks as well as nose. All tears are response to some sort of stimuli. Like basal tears are natural sources of lubricant for eyes to prevent corneal dryness. Reflex tears can come due to any irritation (dust, pollen etc.) or any foreign body in eyes. The most important of all tears are the psychic tears which are actually associated with crying. These tears flow are always due to a strong emotional response like physical or mental pain, stress, anger, sadness or happiness. Leucine encephalin is a natural painkiller present in psychic tears acts as a reliever. Psychic tears also contain higher level of protein, magnesium, potassium and hormone than other forms of tears. Now, we are always curious to know why emotions appear. Normally, the external proposed response, situation, experience or stimulating event send two messages in brain simultaneously, one is to cortex and the other is to hypothalamus. In cortex, the emotional response is created. The hypothalamus has a neurological connection with the autonomic nervous system. It controls the autonomic nervous system and asks the body to respond physically to the emotional stimulus via chemical messengers (acetylcholine). In case of crying episode, the autonomic nervous system carries this stimulus of emotion via acetylcholine which in turn stimulates the lacrimal gland, and thus tears start flowing.
In spite of differences in race, authenticity, cultures or groups, human emotions are by and large similar. Mostly, the emoting nature is different from person to person. Some may cry in loads even on a drop of a penny, some cry sometimes, some very rarely while others may not cry at all. Younger age groups cry more frequently than mature adult age groups. Till puberty, in both genders, crying frequency is almost the same. But after that, girls/women cry more often than men. On an average in a year, women cry around 40 -50 times more than men which are only around 6-7 times. Scientifically, this is due to prolactin (hormone found in woman) stimulates crying whereas testosterone (male hormone) may hinder crying. Men release their emotional toxins through sweating as they tend to sweat more than women. It has been seen that around 80 - 90 percent of people feel much better after crying whereas 8-10 percent feel worst after crying.
Whenever we are at stress, anxiety, sorrow, there is building up of toxic chemicals inside our body and crying obviously let out the negative emotions and releases the chemicals. We ought to feel emotionally lighter and better equipped to deal with the crisis. Because once our mood lightens up, our mind think clearly and logically question to what went wrong, pinpoint the reasons to deal with the crisis wisely. Usually, people who are securely attached do cry more which is quite normal and healthy. But we as individuals can react to a situation differently. What made me cry may make another individual react to the same situation subtly or even react with laughter. Some cry openly while some piles up emotions and cry inside. Internal crying is somewhat a worst situation which may end up in emotional outburst later on in the form of anger, violence; resentment or any kind of negative behaviour. In case of certain individual, there is constant emotional numbing and denial, which can again lead to pent up of emotions internally. Such type of individual might think that sharing or showing emotion is a sign of weakness or fooling yourself. Panting up of emotions, hurt, anger, disappointments lead to volatile or negative behaviour. Though crying is not only the solution to emotional let out. There can be other ways like sharing out with our closed ones, friends, counselling, finding out practical solutions to emotional issues rather than piling them inside.
There have been end number of studies and researches carried out all throughout the world on the different outcomes of shedding tears. Some studies say that a personality of an individual has a role to play on how and why he/she cries. Some says it as a recovery theory while some say as arousal theory because crying can let out our deep emotions and make us dealt with them. For some people who cannot freely express emotions, crying can be therapeutic other than outburst like aggression or violence. So majority of researchers have found that crying is a healing process. It, indeed releases lot of toxic chemicals (endorphins) which lightens up the mood and give the much needed solace for the moment. In all these cases as discussed above, it is the occurrences of crying that happen sometimes or in moderation. But crying every time or frequently is not always good. Extreme depression due to certain incidents like death (loss of a close relative), accident (post traumatic) or post partum can lead to a more destructive or negative outcome. In these cases, it is better to take psychiatric counselling and medication to recover.
To sum up the entire topic, crying and frequency of crying depends on an individual's personality on how open he or she is in dealing with emotions. But generally researches have proved time and again the various health benefits of crying. Whether releasing harmful toxins, reducing stress, lifting up mood, or dealing a difficult low phase, crying does help us and give the much needed therapeutic boost which no medicines can. So, next time, whenever we happen to cry, so let loose and cry to the fullest so that we energize ourselves with positivity and gather our strength to deal with the circumstances.
About Author / Additional Info:
A Medical Professional, enthusiastic on writing in health related topics.