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Benefits of Crying

Benefits of Crying

We’ve all had that feeling, where it would be easier to suppress the tears rather than release them. Some people may feel that crying is a sign of weakness, but science suggests that repressing your tears could mean missing out on a range of benefits. Researchers have found that crying:

  1. Has a soothing effect

Self-soothing is when people:

  • regulate their own emotions
  • calm themselves
  • reduce their own distress

2014 study found that crying may have a direct, self-soothing effect on people. The study explained how crying activates the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which help people to relax.

  1. Gets support from others

As well as helping people self-soothe, crying can actually help people get support from others around them. In this 2016 study, crying is said to be a primary attachment behavior, as it rallies support from the people around us. This is known as an interpersonal or social benefit.

  1. Can help to relieve pain

Research has found that in addition to being self-soothing, shedding emotional tears releases oxytocin and endorphins. These chemicals make people feel good and may also ease both physical and emotional pain. In this way, crying can help reduce pain and promote a sense of well-being.

  1. Enhances mood

Crying may help lift people’s spirits and make them feel better. As well as relieving pain, oxytocin and endorphins can help improve mood. This is why they are often known as “feel good” chemicals.

  1. Releases toxins and relieves stress

When humans cry in response to stress, their tears contain a number of stress hormones and other chemicals. Researchers believe that crying could reduce the levels of these chemicals in the body, which could, in turn, reduce stress. More research is needed into this area, however, to confirm this.

  1. Fights bacteria

Crying helps to kill bacteria and keep the eyes clean as tears contain a fluid called lysozyme. A 2011 study found that lysozyme had such powerful antimicrobial properties that it could even help to reduce risks presented by bioterror agents, such as anthrax.

It’s important to note that crying does have benefits for our mental health, and that suppressing this normal, human function can cause us to feel more anxious, irritable and alone.

Remember, you are not alone. So many people struggle with mental health every day. Make sure you’re honoring yourself and your boundaries. Cry when you need to and allow your body to purge out those feelings so you can let go of the pain of the past.