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What is the use of crying for?

What is the use of crying for?

June 12, 2024

All human beings who have normal psychophysiological functioning (within the average) will have cried and will do so many times throughout their lives. In fact, when a baby is born, it is the first thing that is expected of him and the first sign that his body is functioning correctly.

We all know that Crying is natural and happens when our eyes itch or when we are sad , but then we are going to ask what mechanisms and what is the use behind this.

Types of tears ...

First of all there will be differentiate physiological tears from emotional or psychological tears .

Physiological tears

The physiological tears are those that serve to protect our visual system (the eyes), there are reflexes Y lubricants.


The lubricant tears are those that originate in the cornea, clean and protect the eye from external environmental agents (dust, batteries, etc.). On a daily basis, a quantity of lubricating tears of approximately 1 ml is produced. The reflex tears are those that protect from external attacks such as gases or irritating chemicals, are those that appear when peeling an onion for example, these contain a large amount of antibodies that will protect the eye from bacterial aggressions.

Emotional tears

Finally we have the emotional tears , on which we are going to focus.

These appear before a strong emotion, the hypothalamus intervenes in the emotional interpretation and is the one who sends the orders to the ocular organs for the production of tears. According to a study (Walter & Chip, 2006) with a sample of more than three hundred people, on average men cry emotional tears shed once a month, and women cry at least five times each month , the difference between both sexes is explained by the hormonal variations during menstruation.


Why do we cry when something excites us?

And what is the use of producing tears in a situation of emotional intensity? Usually they are faced with a painful situation, in this case segregate tears seems to have an analgesic and palliative function of pain .

As demonstrated by William H. Frey, a biochemist at the St. Paul-Ramsey Medical Center in Minnesota, the emotional tears we shed in the face of a dramatic situation of his or her own involve a good dose of potassium and manganese chloride, endorphins, prolactin. , adenocorticotropin and leucine-enkephalin (a natural analgesic).

The brain when we cry

Also, when crying the brain wears a lot of glucose and finishing doing it we feel tired and more relaxed as if we had done sports, which can favor body rest in stressful situations. In addition, the mere fact of crying, will make us pick ourselves up, introspect and allow us to cover the need to listen and take care of ourselves for a few moments, leaving aside the other external things that concern us on a daily basis.


The social function of crying

Of course, shedding tears has an adaptive social function very important, when we see others crying we know that they may need help or a different treatment than usual.

Thus, if we add the biological function with the intrapersonal and the relational, shedding tears after a loss, for example, will help us navigate the emotion in a better way.

And why do we sometimes cry when we are happy?

When we experience an emotion of extreme joy, our body sometimes interprets it as "excessive" and our emotional system as a loss of control , in these circumstances, crying helps restore emotional balance.

What if I can not cry when I'm sad?

Some people suffer from an autoimmune disease, the Sjören Syndrome, in which there is a permanent dryness in the lacrimal .

But leaving aside the possible physiological problems for the production of tears, some people have problems crying when they have a loss or a strong emotion, usually this is accompanied by the inability to feel sadness. This can be the result of multiple causes and often has to do with a bad emotional management experience at a certain moment (for example having suffered a severe depression or having a close person who suffers it), through which an irrational fear of crying is triggered.

Social norms also influence certain cultures where crying is "frowned upon", in many cultures, something as natural and innate as crying is "repressed" and it is important to relearn to cry when it is necessary, as it has been commented a few lines above, it has multiple advantages for our emotional health.

Bibliographic references:

  • Díez Baths, March Pujol. Ocular pharmacology. Univ. Politèc. of Catalunya; 2004
  • Walter, Chip. Why do we cry ?. Scientific American Mind. 2006 Dec; 17 (6): 44.
  • William H. Frey, Muriel Langseth. Crying: The Mystery of Tears. Minneapolis: Winston Press; 1985

BW Use Common Sense before Crying for Protection (June 2024).


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