We all cry. According to the NHS, crying is a natural response humans have to a range of emotions, including sadness, grief, joy and frustration.
And interestingly, humans are the only ones who cry tears! So we wonder, are there any health benefits to crying…
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What are the benefits of crying?
#1 Has a soothing effect
Crying may have a direct, self-soothing effect on people. Some studies explained how crying activates the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which helps people relax!
Self-soothing is when people…
#2 Helps to relieve pain
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.
#3 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.
#4 Releases toxins and relieve 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 stress levels of these chemicals in the body, which could, in turn, reduce stress. However, more research is needed to confirm this!
#5 Aids sleep
A small study in 2015 found that crying can help babies sleep better (maybe even adults!).
This is because the calming, mood enhancing, and pain relieving effects of crying above may help a person fall asleep more easily!
Crying is normal, so it’s okay if you feel like shedding a tear or two! It is a normal response to a whole range of emotions, however, if crying happens frequently, uncontrollably or for no reason, it could be a sign of depression.
People may be depressed if their crying:
Happens very frequently
Happens for no apparent reason
Starts to affect daily activities
Other signs of depression include:
Having trouble concentrating
Feeling fatigue or without energy
Feeling guilty, worthless or helpless
Feeling pessimistic or hopeless
Having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
Feeling irritable or restless
Not enjoying things that were once pleasurable
Overeating or undereating
Suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harm
If this is the case, it is a good idea to speak to a doctor.
By: Aishah Akashah Ahadiat