Health Benefits of Crying and Why It’s Okay
The older you get, the more you feel like crying is for children. Most people see crying as a sign of weakness, worthlessness and cause us to feel insecure. What’s most misunderstood is that crying is a natural response of the body when confronted by overwhelming adversity.
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Believe it or not, crying when you need to is good for you. So whenever you’re feeling down and out, don’t hold back your tears. Let them out. And before you know it, you’ll feel better in a way that nothing else could have been able to.
Why Do People Cry?
Crying can be broken down into three different types as there are three main causes as to why people shed tears. They are basal, reflex or emotional.
Basal is the most common and least noticeable as it doesn’t change mental or physical behaviour. This happens when the tear ducts secrete basal tears that are protein-rich and work as an antibacterial liquid to keep your eyes moist every time you blink.
Reflex occurs when tears are naturally triggered by wind, dust or close contact with onions. As these elements can irritate the eyes, we will naturally shed tears to protect them as well as flush out any dirt or bacteria.
Emotional. This type of crying is the one most people try to abstain from. Emotional tears are shed as a response to emotional distraught, sadness and/or trauma. These tears often contain higher levels of stress hormones. Just like basal and reflex crying, shedding emotional tears can also be good for your health.
Surprising Health Benefits of Crying
1. Soothes you
Crying has a self-soothing effect that helps people to regulate their emotions, calm themselves down and have the ability to think and see again.
It minimises stress and helps you to feel better again. Multiple studies have suggested that crying can activate your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which is responsible for helping people to relax.
2. Seeks help from others
Crying is an attachment behaviour as it helps to gain support from others around us. This is also known as an interpersonal or social benefit. As some people may be too shy or nervous about seeking the support they desperately need from others, crying helps them to engage with others.
3. Works as pain relief
Shedding emotional tears will also release hormones such as oxytocin and endorphins. These are neurochemicals that make people feel better, more positive, as well as reducing physical and mental pain.
4. Improved overall mood
As oxytocin and endorphins are well at work in making neurological changes to make people feel better, the mood will also be enhanced. This is the reason why most people generally feel better after a good cry session.
5. Improved sleep
A study in 2015 found that crying significantly increases the sleeping quality in babies. Whether the same effect is at play for adults, more research needs to be done first.
However, in knowing that crying helps to improve our mood and calm us down, it’s essential to be at a calm and rested state of mind before a good night’s rest.
6. Fights bacteria
A fluid within tears called lysozyme helps to kill bacteria on the eyes and keeps them clean. Multiple studies have found that lysozyme has such strong antibacterial properties that it can even reduce the risks of anthrax.
7. Improves vision
Basal tears which are released every time we blink is responsible for keeping our eyes moist and prevent it from drying out from dehydration or overexposure to heat. In turn, this protects our vision and helps us to see more clearly.
Keep In Mind
Everyone needs a good cry every once in a while. It should never be something you are ashamed of. If you don’t like to be public about the fact you are emotionally imbalanced, it’s okay to cry on your outside of the public eye.
Crying should never be seen as a sign of weakness or shame. After all, it’s a natural response of the human body and is designed to help you feel better. Let it out!
Crying should help to alleviate or lessen your feelings of sadness or emotional strains. However if you notice that crying doesn’t seem to help, is persistent or frequently happens with no real cause, you should speak with your doctor for the best advice on how to improve your condition or to find out what the real reason is as to why you may frequently be crying.
This type of behavioural pattern can be the result of emotional trauma or a mental condition that needs to be diagnosed and treated by a doctor or professional.
Head over to the Okadoc app to immediately book an appointment with your health practitioner.
Okadoc now offers virtual consultation with trusted doctors and hospitals. Learn more here!
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