How Tears Heal Us: The Benefits of Crying
When we become emotionally overwhelmed, tears naturally start to form. Many people might say that crying is an unpleasant, best-avoided occurrence, but there are actually several ways that letting tears flow can help us feel better, stronger, and less pained. Let’s find out what they are.
Releases soothing hormones
During an intense emotional outburst, our bodies actually work really hard to support us. The act of crying causes us to breathe rapidly, activating the parasympathetic nervous system.
This system regulates breath, blood flow, and natural hormone production. Some of the hormones that the parasympathetic nervous system regulates pertain to pain management, love, and pleasure.
When we cry, it increases the production of “feel good” hormones (such as endorphins, serotonin, and oxytocin) that we get when we win big with online pokies in New Zealand, and it decreases the production of the stress hormone, cortisol. In turn, this sequence of bodily developments soothe us into a calmer, more tranquil state of being.
Another internal chemical process that crying can kick start is the expulsion of toxins that might have built up in your body. Just like sweat or urine, tears are one of the body’s methods of toxin release, cleaning out your system to make room for nutrients, hydration, and energy.
While the body expels physical toxins, some psychologists believe that crying also helps us release emotional “toxins” – i.e. feelings, thoughts, or memories that damage us psychologically. In this way, crying can almost be seen as the body’s emotional baggage removal system.
Cleans your eyes
Sometimes, all you need is a fresh perspective – and crying can help provide that, quite literally. When tears are pushed out of the tear ducts and over your eyeballs, they bring with them a cleansing wash that removes dirt and improves your eyesight.
Even when you’re not crying, the body is constantly releasing basal tears, which serve to moisten the eyeball and prevent mucus membranes from becoming too dry. Tears are actually an important component of eye health.
Alleviates anxiety and pain
One of the most notable outcomes of crying is that it can help to alleviate anxiety and stress. This is due to the expulsion of stress-inducing hormones, such as cortisol, paired with the rush of oxytocin and endorphins, which reduce physical pain and promote a happier, more relaxed frame of mind.
This is another reason why the body might be prompted to cry during an encounter with physical pain – because it floods us with natural pain and anxiety relief.
Helps you to sleep
Have you ever felt exhausted after a good cry? That’s because crying sometimes involves hyperventilation (an overactive parasympathetic nervous system), calming hormones, and a loss of essential hydration – all things which contribute to general tiredness and fatigue.
While it might sound like an imposition, sleeping after releasing tears is one of the body’s natural coping mechanisms for dealing with emotional distress. So next time, instead of fighting against your tears, try to let them flow and embrace the numerous benefits they can bring.