Crying is something we all do, but most of us have never asked ourselves the question “why do we cry?” Crying, generally, is the process of fluids coming from our eyes. In as such, there are three types of crying, being basal tears, which keep our eyes lubricated; reflex tears, that protect our eyes when they are irritated (like when you are peeling an onion); and emotional tears, produced from happiness, laughter and of course sadness.
Is Crying Healthy?
In short, the answer is yes. Basal tears and reflex tears protect our eyes and remove and kill bacteria and are hence essential to the overall health of our eyes. Most wonder, however, whether emotional tears are healthy and if so, how? It has been scientifically demonstrated that emotional tears lower our manganese levels, which cause us to feel down and irritable. Crying has also been demonstrated to lower levels of stress.
From a psychological perspective, crying appears to bond people and allow communities to grow. We are more likely to feel drawn to a person who is crying, almost automatically wanting to help them. Furthermore, tears also allow us to release emotions. Hence, it is very clear that crying is healthy, both physically and psychologically.
Why Do We Cry when We are Happy?
Crying is generally associated with grief and sadness, but we also cry when we are happy. You may even notice that if you read a Hallmark card, for example, that contains a beautiful message of happiness, you may feel your eyes well up.
It is felt that emotional crying is a response to strong emotional feeling, be they positive feelings or negative feelings. Many believe that when very strong emotions occur, our brain simply cannot cope any longer and seeks release through expelling tears. However, some disagree and say that happy tears are caused by the stress that was present before the “happy ending”. For example, when two people are reunited, they do not cry at their reunion but rather as a release of all the anxiety and worry they had in each other’s absence.
Crying is natural and healthy with two types of tears even being entirely necessary to allow our eyes to function. Emotional tears seem to come easier for some people than others, with some crying a torrent of tears and others only feeling a slight burning sensation in their eyes. Regardless of what type of crier you may be, it is important to remember that crying is very healthy for our emotional wellbeing and should hence never be seen as a sign of weakness.