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Did You Know That Crying Is Actually Good For Your Health?

Normally, crying is an act which is associated with negative emotions, right? Well, what if we told that crying comes with a whole lot of health benefits? Yes! You read that right. People try to pacify us when we are in tears, as we usually cry when we feel extremely sad, depressed or scared.

Crying can be described as the body's physical response to an emotional state, where a person sheds tears from the lacrimal gland or the tear duct [1]. Technically, the act of crying has a number of variations. For instance, sobbing is a form of crying that is accompanied by symptoms like slow, erratic inhalation of breath, muscular tremors, etc. [2].

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Tears produced from emotionally induced crying have a different chemical composition and is not the same as the tears produced due to an eye infection and the likes [3]. Today, we will look into some of the health benefits associated with crying.

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Types Of Tears

Humans produce three types of tears and they are as follows [4]:

Basal: Basal tears are protein-rich antibacterial liquid that help to keep the eyes moist every time you blink. The tear ducts constantly secrete basal tears.

Emotional: We shed tears in response to a range of emotions and these tears have a higher level of stress hormones than other types of tears [5].

Reflex: Reflex tears are triggered by irritants such as wind, smoke, or one of the main culprits - onions [6]. These tears help flush out the irritants and protect the eye.

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Health Benefits Of Crying

Here is the list of benefits crying can have on your health. Take a look.

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1. Relieves Stress And Releases Toxins

Studies point out that crying helps to bring back our physical and mental state from a state of flight or fight response to a normal state, thus providing a small amount of relief from stress [7]. Crying can help reduce the levels of stress hormones in the body, thereby releiving stress [8]. Crying could reduce the levels of these chemicals in the body, along with the release of the stress hormones.

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2. Relieves Or Dulls Pain

Research has found that shedding tears help release oxytocin and endorphins, which can help dull both physical and emotional pain [9]. Therefore, crying after falling down and hurting your leg does not look that bad anymore, does it? You are helping yourself ease the pain.

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3. Improves Mood

In the psychological aspect, crying can help improve one's mood and make them feel better [10]. The release of oxytocin and endorphins can help improve mood, after all, they are termed as the ‘feel-good hormones.'

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4. Treats Dry Eyes

One of the major benefits of crying is that it is beneficial for your eyes [11]. Tears can naturally lubricate your eyes, crying can prevent eye dryness, redness and irritability [12]. This can help in improving one's vision.

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5. Fights Bacteria

A research study has found that emotionally induced tears contain an enzyme called lysozyme, which may have antibacterial properties [13]. Therefore stating that crying can help kill bacteria and keep the eyes clean [14].

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6. Aids Sleep - In Infants

A study found that crying can help babies sleep better [15]. Crying creates a calming, mood-enhancing, and pain-relieving effect on the baby, which in turn help them to fall asleep better and faster. Whether crying has the same sleep-enhancing effect on adults is yet to be researched.

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7. Helps Self-soothe

Researchers have pointed out that crying may be one of the best mechanisms of self-soothing an individual can possess [16]. It is pointed out that, crying activates the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) - which helps your body rest and digest [17].

Apart from the aforementioned benefits of crying, the release of emotional angst can help one recover from grief and restore emotional balance [18].

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On A Final Note…

Crying is good for the soul, just like soap is good for the body - a way of cleansing. It is often said that laughter is our body's medicine to live a longer and healthier life, well now you know that crying is also special in its own way.

Read more about: crying tears
Story first published: Friday, May 15, 2020, 10:26 [IST]
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