"Cry. Forgive. Learn. Move on. Let your tears water the seeds of your future happiness."
― Steve Maraboli
A Chinese saying advocates that men should bleed and not tear as it is often perceived as weak. In contrast to that, Dr. Judith Orloff, MD., author of the New York Times bestseller, Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life, wrote that tears are actually a sign of courage, strength, and authenticity.
The latest scientific findings also found that tears, a normal human response, come with health and social benefits, including pain relief and self-soothing effects.
We cry for reasons encompassing both negative and positive experiences. There can be tears of joy or sadness, both for ourselves and others or in relief. However, when people shed tears out of pain, crying is an emotional response to a psychological condition. Its importance cannot be minimized.
Biochemist and "tear expert" Dr. William Frey at the Ramsey Medical Center in Minneapolis discovered that reflex tears are 98% water. In contrast, emotional tears contain stress hormones that get excreted from the body through crying.
As such, tears act as your body's release valve for stress, sadness, grief, anxiety, and frustration. In there are surprisingly numerous health benefits of tears. Here are some of them :
1. RELEASES TOXINS
Crying does not only mentally cleanse us; it can cleanse our body too. Tears produced by stress help the body get rid of chemicals that raise cortisol, the stress hormone. Dr. Frey also suggested that crying stimulates the production of endorphins, our body's natural pain killer and "feel-good" hormones."
2. KILLS BACTERIA
Tears contain the fluid lysozyme that can kill certain bacteria by destroying bacteria cell walls — the rigid outer shell provides a protective coating in just five to 10 minutes. A 2011 study published in the journal Food Microbiology found tears have such strong antimicrobial powers they can even protect against anthrax's intentional contamination.
3. IMPROVES VISION
Tears made by the lacrimal gland can clear up our vision by lubricating the eyeballs and eyelids. When the membranes of the eyes are dehydrated, our eyesight may become a little blurry. Tears bathe the surface of the eye, says the National Eye Institute, keeping it moist and wash away dust and debris. Crying also prevents the dehydration of various mucous membranes.
4. IMPROVES MOOD
Tears can elevate our mood better than any antidepressant available. A 2008 study from the University of South Florida found crying can be self-soothing and lift mood better than any antidepressant. The shedding of tears improved almost 90 percent of the criers' mood compared to the eight percent who reported crying made them feel worse.
5. RELIEVES STRESS
A good cry can provide a feeling of relief, even if our circumstances remain the same. Tears are known to release stress hormones or toxins from the body, and as a result, reduces tension. Stuffing your feelings can lead to physical health problems like headaches or high blood pressure.
Next time you feel emotional about a situation, let your tears flow to purify stress and negativity. Crying makes us feel better, even when a problem persists. In addition to physical detoxification, emotional tears heal the soul. You don't want to hold them back.
And yes, men, it is okay to tear. Wailing is different matter altogether.
Fred Tokè aka Dr. Tokèmon