In the article “The Miracle of Tears”, author Jerry Bergman wrote, “Tears are just one of many miracles which work so well that we take them for granted every day.” Often, we associate crying with something that is ‘bad’. We don’t want others witness our tears. But, little is focused on some of the wonderful benefits of crying. Here are a few:
Tears reduce inflammation
Crying has been shown to help us “blow off steam”. It enables a release of energy that is stored up and emotions that could do damaged if contained for too long. Those who cry are better able to manage psychological stress when inflammatory cytokines are released in tears. One study showed that individuals with autoimmune disease who cried regularly had reduced symptoms and those who had more control over rheumatoid arthritis were moved to tears more easily, which suppressed the influence of stress and as a result, the buildup.
They kill bacteria
It’s great! We have natural antibacterial and antiviral ‘products’ – tears. They fight of all of the germs we tend to pick up throughout the day from shopping carts, public places, etc. Tears contain lysozyme – a fluid that can kill 90-95 percent of all bacteria in 5 to 10 minutes!
Thank you, tears, for letting us see
They literally allow us to see by lubricating our eyeballs and lids, as well as prevent dehydration of different mucous membranes. Without lubrication we don’t have eyesight.
Crying elevates mood and lowers stress
It lowers our manganese level which can make us feel better–too much can cause anxiety, irritability, fatigue, aggression and more that causes us to feel terrible.
As far as stress goes, Bergman writes: “Suppressing tears increases stress levels, and contributes to diseases aggravated by stress, such as high blood pressure, heart problems, and peptic ulcers.” So, not only can we elevate our mood by crying, we lower stress! Tears are a bit like perspiration…exercising and crying both relieve stress. Tears remove some of the chemicals that build up in the body due to stress such as the endorphin leucine-enkaphalin and prolactin.
Say goodbye to toxins
In one study, Biochemist William Frey found that emotional tears (formed in grief or distress) contained more toxic byproducts than irritation tears (like ones that happen when you peel an onion). So, tears are not toxic in themselves, but remove toxins from our body that build up due to stress.
Crying helps us connect
Think about it…when you notice someone else crying, or they notice you, you might ask them if they are okay or need help, or you might just lend an ear to listen and a shoulder to lean on. We’re more connected to one another that way.
We release feelings through tears
It can be a cathartic experience when we cry. Daily accumulations of feelings, including resentment, means that we can have a release before we allow those feelings to wreak havoc with our cardiovascular and nervous systems. Let out those feelings…and tears!