Does crying relieve stress? The answer is yes. It seems natural to feel embarrassed when you cry and some people may think of you as a weak person. But there’s more to it than feeling sad because crying relieves stress and makes you feel better. Crying is free and anyone can do it.
There are no side effects when you cry but it will certainly make your eyes red with tears running down on your cheeks. Crying is not a popular drug but studies show that it’s very effective in making you feel better.
Based on studies, scientists found out that our tears are made up of different compounds when we produce specific type of tears such as emotional tears from sadness or regular eye watering caused by chopping onions.
Let´s Start With Tears
Before we can see how crying relieves stress, we should talk a little bit about tears. There are three kinds of tears and these are emotional tear, basal tear and eye watering.
Emotional tears are different from the other two types of tears because it contains essential chemicals that are not commonly found in tears that are caused by physical irritants such as the acidic fumes of chopped onions. Generally, emotional tears contain adrenocorticotropic hormone, prolactin hormone and a natural painkiller called leucine enkephalin.
Basal tears are the protective layer of fluid that covers our eyeballs. These fluids are produced by a gland which is located above each eye and they are known as lachrymal glands. Without basal tears, our eyes may become dry and prone to bacterial infection. Basal tears contain a powerful anti-viral and antibacterial agent called lysozyme. Without lysozyme, our eyes will not be able to function properly and we could go blind.
The last type of tears is called eye watering. These tears protect our eyes against irritants like the acidic fumes of chopped onions and other foreign bodies such as dust. Eye watering is sometimes called reflex tears because the lachrymal gland automatically produces more fluids when an irritant comes in contact with the eyes.
For millions of years, people cry to show their emotions. Crying remains to be part of our evolution so, it must have some special purpose. On the contrary, some people believe that laughter is the best medicine which is also true because it improves the immune system to protect us against sickness-causing germs and it reduces the number of stress hormones.
Learn more: 11 Ways To Relax Yourself After Crying
How Crying Relieves Stress
Crying relieves stress by releasing stored chemicals in our body
The recovery theory supports the idea that our emotional tears can help us recover from a stressful event. According to a pharmaceutics professor William Frey, we will feel better after we cry because the stored chemicals in our body during emotional stress are removed. Unrelieved stress can make us prone to a heart-related disease such as heart attack which can damage some parts of our brain and our ability to cry can prevent it from happening.
Our tears contain stress-related chemicals
There are also other evidences which prove that crying relieves stress. It is found out that an emotional tear contains high amounts of manganese, potassium and proteins. Manganese is an important nutrient that normalizes the flow of blood and cholesterol level (too much manganese can cause heart problems). Potassium is also an essential nutrient that normalizes our blood pressure, muscle movement and the way we think. All that helps to relieve stress.
Our tears release a stress hormone
An emotional tear also contains a hormone known as prolactin. Prolactin plays a vital role in the immune system and the stress we experience in our daily lives. Women produce more prolactin hormone in their body than men, that’s why they tend to cry more often, especially during pregnancy.
How does crying relieve stress to make me feel better? Crying relieves stress by producing emotional tears that contain stress relief chemicals and hormones.
But there´s more to crying than stress relief. Here’s our detailed list about the other health benefits of crying.
Other Health Benefits Of Crying
Crying elevates your mood
When you are stressed, your manganese level tends to rise and the best way to reduce it is by crying. Too much manganese can cause irritability, aggression, nervousness, fatigue, anxiety and emotional disturbance.
Crying can protect us from diseases like cold and flu. The tears in our eyes help fight against germs. Our tears have the ability to kill 90% of bacteria within a few minutes.
Releases your inner feelings
If you experience traumatic events in your life or you are suffering from depression. It is essential for you to express your feelings. By crying because some of your problems and deepest longings may accumulate inside the part of your brain called limbic system which may cause a more serious mental illness.
Promotes clear vision
When we cry, our eyesight becomes clearer because the tears have a moisturizing effect on our eyes which makes sure that the membrane surrounding our eyeballs will not be dehydrated.
Helps when dealing with frustration
The problems we encounter in our daily lives can make us feel helpless and frustrated. Crying relieves stress and frustration because it helps us to let go of all the pent up feelings and it enables us to take better control of our lives.
Helps when dealing with disappointment
Not all things work the way we planned, and sometimes, we feel disappointed. Crying allows us to accept our disappointments and it will help us to learn from our mistakes.
Improves your connection with other people
Some people are afraid to cry in front of a partner or friend. But showing your true feelings is a good way to get closer to that person. When you are comfortable with one another, you won’t feel embarrassed to show your emotions and they will appreciate you more as a person.
Adjust easily to the changes in your life
Most people find it hard to accept the changes in their lives because they tend to stick with their usual way of life. But when we encounter problems such as a life threatening disease or a serious accident that requires us to change the way we live, we might find it hard to accept reality. The best thing to do in these situations is to cry because crying is a healthy response when we feel sad.
Photo: Benjamin Lehman