I’m fascinated by tears of the emotional variety (as opposed to those you get from cutting up onions).
Why do women seem to cry more than men? And is crying actually helpful?
In 1982 biochemist Dr. William H. Frey released a theory, for which there is some indirect evidence. He said tears help relieve stress by ridding the body of potentially harmful stress-induced chemicals. He was able to prove that emotionally induced tears have a higher protein content than those produced in response to eye irritation.
The reason we cry is still open for debate today. Theories range from crying serving as a non-verbal cue, to it being part of some kind of stress hormone release-valve mechanism.
Crying certainly helps serve as a signal for help or pity, or a bonding tool by which the crier is consoled.
It aids us in expressing the emotion of sadness, and crying with another person adds another dimension of healing – especially if your friend knows how to respond in an appropriate, empathetic way.
The vulnerability of crying can help build close friendships.
Sometimes we just need a release – as opposed to bottling our feelings up. Crying helps us to talk, in a way. Like blushing, it is evidence of the feelings inside us.
Let’s not be afraid to cry if we need to, with safe people who’ll help us navigate the journey. Crying is so often a gateway to hope and healing, offering release and refreshment when we’ve tried to be strong for too long.