We often see people who cry as very weak or excessively emotional. However, crying is good and you should do it whenever you need to.
Letting your tears flow is one of the healthiest things you can do- and here’s a breakdown of why:
Tears remove toxins
Like a good sweat, crying releases toxins that can build up in the body. Biochemist William Frey’s research found that emotional tears have higher levels of stress hormones than tears shed by, say, slicing an onion.
Like other exocrine secretions (like sweating, urinating, or even exhaling) tears allow the body to rid itself of excess stress chemicals built up from emotional tension.
It relieves stress
Chronic stress can increase the risk of heart attack, damage certain areas of the brain, contribute to digestive issues like ulcers, and cause tension headaches and migraines, among other health issues. “Humans’ ability to cry has survival value,” Frey emphasizes. While crying may not be as effective as respite care, most family caregivers could use a bit of stress relief.
Tears bolster our immune system
Just as some forms of stress boost immunity, tears are likewise packed with immune support.
Particularly in emotion-based tears, a potent bacteria-fighting protein called lysozyme helps us fight illness and infection; this is a protein also found in human milk, mucus, and saliva.
So, shedding tears is a great way to bolster our body’s natural defenses against the very stress depleting us.
It can boost your mood
It’s like your mom always said: Sometimes, you just need a good cry. Studies have found that people actually feel happier, both physically and physiologically, after shedding some tears. Why? Researchers believe that the act of crying flushed built-up chemicals from our systems, while the mental release of emotions can help us cope with painful situations.
Tears also help our nose
Tears travel internally through the tear duct to the nasal passages, where they encounter mucus. When enough tears mix with the mucus, it loosens and is shed, keeping the nose moist and bacteria free.
Crying can boost resilience
Perhaps most importantly, shedding tears demonstrates our capacity to tolerate and move through pain, reminding us of our natural capacities to cope with our feelings.
Knowing you can face your challenges boosts your self-confidence, which can shield you from the hopelessness of depression.