Humans are the only animals who shed tears of emotion. Babies cry because of hunger or any unpleasant feeling. What about adults? Would you use crying as a way to release your emotions?
Throughout history and in every culture, people cry. Nowadays, people are facing more and more pressure from work, life, family, health and love. Sometimes when sadness reaches a certain level, crying is inevitable. Are there any physical or health benefits from crying? Psychological counselor Li Jin from the Yang Guang Hua Ren Psychological Service says the answer is "Yes".
"Weeping is one of the mechanisms that humans use to get rid of some toxins. Tears may be involved in removing waste products or toxic substances from the body. Perhaps that is why so many people say they feel better after crying."
The chemical components of tears are far more complicated than one would imagine. Li Jin introduced an interesting experiment conducted by American scientists. The scientists first had some volunteers watch a sad movie, and then they collected their tears. Later they had these volunteers cut onions to generate tears. Chemical analysis afterwards showed that the tears collected from cutting onions are very different from those created by watching a sad movie.
Some people may think that crying is just a loss of control and a sign of weakness. But actually, crying is a form of stress release.
Li Jin explained that many of her visitors cry when they are getting psychological counseling. They are mostly women from white-collar backgrounds. Their jobs are very demanding. Usually their work requires a great deal of responsibility and they have to take care of every little thing, from troublesome customers to their relationship with the boss and other colleagues, and endless e-mails to deadlines.
Some other visitors expressed that their crying is due to dissatisfaction in love relationships, and from being misunderstood by other people.
These can all result in enormous stress, so Li Jin’s suggestion is to not suppress the desire to cry, as long as you are in a private environment.
"When you feel pressure, frustration, sorrow or anger – any negative emotions – you should take effective measures to release them. Stress is terrible for the health of your brain, heart and other organs. Crying is natural, healthy and curative. So don¡¯t wait until your sadness becomes a depressive disorder."
Li Jin added that crying is just one way to release pressure. There are many alternatives you can use to ease your stress. Finding the one that fits you best is the key to maintaining a stable, confident and healthy psychological state.