Anyone who knows me well enough, knows that I cry when I laugh. The most annoying part though is the fact that it is never just a tear or two. Whenever I laugh really hard I have a stream of tears running down my face for a good five minutes. I can’t control it! Lately, I have been wondering why that is, and I’ve decided to share my finding with you!
Mentally, crying and laughing are similar responses. According to Robert R. Provine, PhD, “Both occur during states of high emotional arousal, involve lingering effects, and don’t cleanly turn on and off.” We all know that tears are often triggered by pain, sadness, and clearly, extreme joy, but is that good or bad? Well, apparently, it’s a really good thing. Have you guys ever heard of cortisol and adrenaline? Cortisol is a hormone that is released in response to stress and low blood-glucose concentration. Adrenaline is another stress hormone. It is produced within the adrenal gland and it makes your heart beat faster, strengthens the force of your hearts contraction, and opens up the bronchioles in the lungs. The fact that cortisol and adrenaline are both stress hormones is also the reason why crying when you laugh is really good for you. It doesn’t matter whether you are crying or laughing, but both responses ease stress. Therefore, they counteract the effects of the hormones cortisol and adrenaline.
Moreover, It is possible that crying when you laugh is an illness regarding your brain. Apparently, there is a syndrome called Pathological Laughter and Crying (PLC). PLC, “is characterized by uncontrollable outburst” of the responses crying and laughing. Patients that have PLC have damaged pathways in the motor areas of their cerebral cortex. As a result, the damage goes all the way down the brainstem and creates a common area for laughing and crying which causes the responses to be irrational.
Furthermore, it is possible that people cry when they laugh because they have too much pressure on there tear-ducts. If this is the case, then, the overwhelming amount of tears streaming down your face when you are laughing are, “reflex tears.” Reflex tears are the “result of airborne irritants or wind.” Last, but not least, the tears could be “emotion-driven water drops.” These kinds of tears can be produced by various hormones that are also considered, “natural painkillers.”
I am still not completely sure why I cry when I laugh, but I hope it has nothing to do with, Pathological Laughter and Crying Syndrome, reflex tears, or emotion-driven water drops. I would like to think that I cry when I laugh because whatever I am laughing at is just, that funny. All in all, it is also reassuring to know that there are benefits to crying and laughter like releasing stress. You know what they say, “Stress is a silent killer.” So, if laughing until I cry helps with that, I am all for it! Let me know what you think!