Crying Is Good for Health

Tears are just one of many miracles we taken them for granted every day. Here are few ways tears heal us physiologically, psychologically, and spiritually.

> Tears Help Us See: The most basic function of tears is that they enable us to see. Literally. Tears not only lubricate our eyeballs and eyelids, they also prevent dehydration of our various mucous membranes. No lubrication, no eyesight. Writes Jerry Bergman: “Without tears, life would be drastically different for humans—in the short run enormously uncomfortable, and in the long run eyesight would be blocked out altogether.”

> Tears Kill Bacteria: No need for Clorox wipes. We’ve got tears! Our own antibacterial and antiviral agent working for us, fighting off all the germs we pick up on community computers, shopping carts, public sinks, and all those places the nasty little guys make their homes and procreate.

Tears contain lysozyme, a fluid that the germ-a-phobe dreams about in her sleep, because it can kill 90 to 95 percent of all bacteria in just five to ten minutes! This translates, I’m guessing, to three months’ worth of colds and stomach viruses.

> Tears Remove Toxins: Biochemist William Frey, who has been researching tears for as long as I’ve been searching for sanity, found in one study that emotional tears—those formed in distress or grief—contained more toxic byproducts than tears of irritation (think onion peeling). Are tears toxic then?

No! They actually remove toxins from our body that build up courtesy of stress. They are like a natural therapy or massage session, but they cost a lot less!

> Crying Can Elevate Mood: Do you know what your manganese level is? Neither do I. But chances are that you will feel better if it’s lower because overexposure to manganese can cause bad stuff: anxiety, nervousness, irritability, fatigue, aggression, emotional disturbance, and the rest of the feelings that live inside my head rent-free.

The act of crying can actually lower a person’s manganese level. And just like with the toxins I mentioned in my last point, emotional tears contain 24 percent higher albumin protein concentration—responsible for transporting small (toxic) molecules--than irritation tears.

> Crying Lowers Stress: Tears really are like perspiration, in that exercising and crying both relieve stress. In his article, Bergman explains that tears remove some of the chemicals built up in the body from stress, like the endorphins leucine-enkaphalin and prolactin. The opposite is true too. Bergman writes, “Suppressing tears increases stress levels, and contributes to diseases aggravated by stress, such as high blood pressure, heart problems, and peptic ulcers.

> Tears Build Community: In her Science Digest article, writer Ashley Montagu argued that crying not only contributes to good health, but it also builds community. I know what you’re thinking: “Well, yeah, but not the right kind of community. I mean, I might ask the woman bawling her eyes out behind me in church what’s wrong or if I can help her, but I’m certainly not going to invite her to dinner.”

I beg to differ. As a prolific crier, I always come away astounded by the resounding support of people I know, and the level of intimacy exchanged among them. Read for yourselves some of the comments on both my self-esteem file video my death and dying video and you’ll appreciate my point. Tears help communication and foster community.

> Tears Release Feelings: Even if you haven’t just been through something traumatic or are severely depressed, the average Joe goes through his day accumulating little conflicts and resentments. Sometimes they gather inside the limbic system of the brain and in certain corners of the heart. Crying is cathartic. It lets the devils out before they wreak all kind of havoc with the nervous and cardiovascular systems. As John Bradshaw writes in his bestseller Home Coming, “All these feelings need to be felt. We need to stomp and storm; to sob and cry; to perspire and tremble.”


  1. Great post. I didn't realize just how many benefits there were to tears. I should try to cry more often!

  2. Crying is pretty rare for me. But on the occasions when it seemed unavoidable it was certainly a great release.

  3. I think it's a great release. I don't cry often but I usually feel much better afterward.

  4. Crying is an aspect of feeling human. It should never be seen as a weakness, though sometimes that notion stops people from crying when they need to. Good post.

  5. I find myself crying more often in my older age...I don't care for the uncontrollable tears but at least now I know they serve a purpose beyond making me feel like a cry baby. :)

  6. This is new for me. I was equally surprised when i researched the subject. Though i knew tears were purifying and i never knew about the other benefits.


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