According to WebMD, crying is actually good for ones health. Some doctors even recommend it. Fun fact: In japan there are even crying clubs because it is believed to be very healthy and refreshing. Why is the science behind on the crying remedies?
Crying acts a stress reliever. Research proves that there are more stress hormones found in emotional tears rather the tears that come from something like dust for example being caught in ones eyes. Crying activates the parasympathetic system which is a part of the autonomic nervous system and acts as a stress reliever to calm the body down.
Aside from a form of calming however, crying also benefits help in other ways. Tears are actually salt water which contains antibodies, lubricate eyes, and prevent irritants. There are three types of tear produced by humans which are reflex- like when smoke gets in your eye, continuous- produced daily for lubrication, and emotional. According to biochemist Dr. William Frey, while reflex tears are mostly water, emotional tears exert stress hormones. Tears even travel to the nose keeping it clean and moist. Fun fact: Humans are the only species that shed emotional tears, while others only shed reflex.
So what’s is the rumor with girls crying more than boys? And if that’s the case, are women healthier than men?
A study tested if the rumor of women crying more was true, and if so, why? Biologically, testosterone found in men tend to block tears, while the hormone prolactin found in women, tends to encourage it. However, culture also plays a huge role in crying. The study tested over 35 countries. There was significant changes in crying between men and women in countries where social freedom for women was more accepted, such as the U.S, while in more controlled countries like Ghana, there was not a huge difference.
Therefore, while there is no direct causation or correlation between crying and women, many variables such as biology and surrounding environment affect the crying rate. In terms of health however, what does this mean? Men just like women regardless of emotional tears have reflex tears, giving them the same health antibody benefits as women. Men tend to be viewed as angrier and more aggressive than women because they do not use the emotional tears to activate their parasympathetic systems. However, because it is now more acceptable in modern society for men to cry, as social norms and gender roles continue to change, men also get the stress relief that come along with all three types of tears.
So to both males and females, the next time you are feeling overwhelmed, or watching a really sad movie, don’t be afraid to cry, because it does in even the smallest ways, benefit your health.