We enter the world crying, but for some reason, as we get older, the act of shedding tears becomes seen as a sign of weakness in both men and women. But the involuntary act of crying is actually good for the mind, body, and soul in many ways.
Don’t bottle up your tears; if you do you’ll be doing more harm than good. Here are some surprising health benefits of crying.
You release toxins: You don’t only cry when you’re sad. Crying is also your body’s response to too much stress. When you cry, you rid your body of cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone associated with stress that can potentially cause damage to your health if if your levels become unbalanced. Chronically high levels of the hormone can cause a variety of issues such as: sleep problems, a lowered immune response, and abdominal weight gain.
You kill bacteria: Your tears wash bacteria away from your eyes. This is due to your tears contain lysozyme, which is a hormone found in human milk and saliva. When you cry, lysozyme is released, killing over 90% of bacteria in its path. So not only does crying release toxins from your body, it also kills other toxins lurking on the body’s surface.
You improve your vision: Ever get home from a long day of work and realize your vision is a bit blurry? Throughout the day, the membranes in your eye become dehydrated, which causes you to lose the ability to focus. Crying hydrates these membranes, revitalizing your eyes’ overall performance.
You improve your mood: Crying relieves stress by releasing certain hormones from the body. Obviously, this has a tremendously positive effect on your overall mood. A study conducted in 2008 by the University of South Florida showed that 90% of people who cried during stressful situations reported a significant increase in their mood. Those that don’t cry have one less outlet to rely on when facing difficulties in life.
You face your emotions: The people who say they don’t cry are most likely hiding from the fact that they have something to cry about. Everyone has something to cry about, and there’s no shame in that. Facing an emotional crisis is hard enough to deal with in itself; holding back tears for the sake of saving face during an emotional time takes even more effort, and will only serve to increase stress.
You boost communication: If someone close to you starts to cry, you instinctively know that something is wrong. Words aren’t necessary to communicate this information. Crying can also be a ‘tell’ of sorts; a person may try to pretend like their fine, but tears make it clear that they are hurting. Bursting into tears can open the floodgates, literally and metaphorically, to a person’s thoughts and feelings, and can be the catalyst for a deep, much-needed discussions between friends or partners.
You protect yourself from irritants: Tears aren’t just produced when you’re sad. They’re the body’s natural response to foreign material hitting the eye. When the eye comes into contact with dust particles, sand, or dirt, your body’s natural reaction is to tear up. This protects the membrane in your eye from abrasions or infections. The reason you cry when cutting up onions is that the act of cutting the onion causes it to release a gas that attacks the eye; tears allow the eye to protect itself from this irritant.
You improve your overall health: Crying can produce a number of positive health results, including improving mood, lowering stress levels, and protecting the eye from bacteria. But did you know that tears from emotional crying contain levels of albumin protein 24% higher than other types of crying? This helps with metabolic regulation. Crying can also help to combat other common physical health issues like: high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.