Is crying good for you? Crying can have physical and emotional benefits to our health
Crying is something we have done since the moment we were born, the crucial action that helped fill our lungs with air.
But as we grow older, we are often conditioned to think that crying is a sign of weakness and something that needs to be stopped immediately. Believe it or not, crying is not only a natural response to certain emotions, but it can also be good for you.
Why do people cry?
Crying has both physical and emotional benefits, and one of the ways it does that is by producing tears. Our bodies produce three types of tears:
- Basal tears: If you look closely, you can see that your eyes are constantly lubricated by a thin layer of basal tears that protect your corneas.
- Reflex tears: These help flush out foreign objects that may come into contact with your eyes, whether that is fumes, smoke, dust, or a stray eyelash.
- Emotional tears: These are produced in response to emotions, such sadness, happiness, or even fear.
3 emotional benefits of crying
Have you ever noticed that you generally feel a little better after letting yourself have a good cry? That’s because bottling up our emotions with no outlet can be bad for your health. Studies have referred to this as repressive coping, which is associated with a weak immune system, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.
While there are many benefits to crying, here are three big ones:
1. Helps the body release stress
2. Eases physical and emotional pain
Crying releases hormones (like oxytocin) and chemicals (like endorphins) into the body that help improve mood and ease pain. These feel-good chemicals can help you feel calmer and allow you to cope with emotional situations.
3. Signals to others that we need support
Whether conscious or not, crying is a way to communicate our needs. When we cry with friends or family, it lets them know that you’re in need of comfort and care. It helps encourage closeness and strengthens our social bonds.
When to seek professional help
A good long cry once in a while can make you feel better and help you cope with your emotions.
But if you find yourself crying excessively and uncontrollably frequently, and if it has started affecting your daily activities, it may be a sign of depression or another mental health issue. If you notice frequent crying as well as other signs of depression or anxiety, seek the help of a mental health professional.
Medically Reviewed on 7/8/2021
Newhouse L. Is Crying Good for You? Harvard Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/is-crying-good-for-you-2021030122020