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Crying: why do we cry

ying has been part of our lives, being outside the womb the first thing we instinctively do is cry.

As adults we cry of joy, pain, sadness or simply because of conflicting emotions. But the big question that we will try to clear up to solve this phenomenon of crying is: Why do we cry?
Although clearly before answering that question we should ask ourselves what tears are and what their functions are. 

What do the tears mean?

The scientific debate on the origin of crying goes back for some time. Charles Darwin had already stated this in his text « The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals «, when he mentioned that crying is one of the “specific expressions of man”.

According to scientists, the chemical content of emotional tears is different from that of basal tears, which are those that fulfill the function of lubricating the eyes.

Recent research has helped us understand what human tears mean from social, psychological, and neuroscientific perspectives.

“I believe that the study of crying, more than in the case of any other emotional expression, can help us to gain a better understanding of human nature,” said tear researcher Ad Vingerhoets – professor of psychology at the University of Tilburg, Pays Low-.

Both this scientist -Ad Vingerhoets-, as well as others, continue to carry out research on the role that society and culture play in the reason why human beings cry , and  the connection capacity that crying provokes in people.

Why do we cry?

For Darwin, man conditions crying depending on the social relationships he establishes , since in today’s culture it is frowned upon for man to express his physical or psychological pain through crying.

Several theories have been postulated about the reason for human crying, among them we can distinguish: the theory of the “aquatic monkey” and the theory of crying as signaling.

Crying theory as signaling

This theory highlights that when we cry, we indicate that we are defenseless and for example we are not going to fight when someone wants to hurt us either verbally or physically. Crying is shown as a signal to others that we need their help , for example other social animals use the vocalizations of the cry to achieve this purpose. When we cry, we convey an impression of weakness and a need for protection.

The ‘water monkey’ theory

This theory proposes that many of our adaptations are because we evolved near the sea and we need to feel in the ocean . So the tears we produce are basically responses to living in a salty environment.

Do women cry more than men?

So thats it. It has been statistically proven over the years that women are more prone to crying than men.

According to a study conducted in the 1980s by biochemist William H. Frey, it was found that women cry an average of 5.3 times a month, as opposed to men, who cry an average of 1.3 times a month. month.

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It is estimated that biologically, there may be a reason why women cry more than men, hormones. Testosterone (found in a higher percentage in men) can inhibit crying, while the hormone prolactin (observed in higher levels in women) can promote it.

Is crying good for your health?

We cry with joy, emotion, love, sadness, pain, anger. We cry to express ourselves, because contrary to what is believed -that crying is bad, associating crying with pain or with the negative-, crying is beneficial for health. Crying helps us reduce stress and release toxins that build up in the body as a result of it. It also helps us improve our mood.

Some of the benefits of crying are as follows:

Tears help vision

The tears that we shed clean our eyes, lubricate them so they do not dry out and prevent dehydration of the mucous membranes. They help us to see better and thanks to their powerful fluid called  lysozyme , they eliminate the bacteria that accumulate in the eyes. They also work as natural pain relievers thanks to their protein content.

Crying reduces stress

As with sweat, tears help to release toxins that were generated in a stressful situation ( adrenaline and norarenaline) from our body. When we release tension and get rid of stress, after crying, the body and mind begin to work in harmony again.

Crying improves mood

Crying increases the level of endorphins in our body. Increasing this pain-inhibiting substance improves mood. After crying, we generally feel a sense of relief. This is because we have somehow released the pressure we had within ourselves, which brings us pleasure and relief.

When we cry we express our feelings, we become more aware of our emotions and we can see what worries us from a more adequate perspective; This makes us aware and feel better about ourselves.

Crying helps you sleep better

Crying yourself out is not just a saying, in fact, many people cry until they can’t, where the only rest they can find is sleep.

In 2015 a study found that crying can help babies sleep better. Although the effectiveness of crying in the sleep of adults has not yet been proven, it is estimated that the effect could be similar to that of babies. It follows that the calming effects of the release of endorphins that improve mood and relieve pain, can help a person fall asleep more easily.

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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