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Why Do We Cry and What Is the Process of Crying?

Author:

Nell l is fascinated by all things scientific. She is also a trained psychologist.

#Tears #crying

#Tears #crying

Crying

We all love a good cry. As long as its purely to release emotion while watching a film. But there are many forms of crying. We cry when a baby is born because we are happy. We cry with grief, which in itself is a completely different feeling, but still the tears come.

And we cry when we are feeling just plain sad for no particular reason. Somehow a good cry tends to make us feel better, or if not better then relieved in some small way.

Tears clean the eyes, they are packed full of protein, oil water and mucus. As we open the floodgates of tears, we start to feel a release of tension that for a few moments at least, makes us stop and regain our breath.

why-do-we-cry-and-what-is-the-process-of-crying
why-do-we-cry-and-what-is-the-process-of-crying

Crying a River!

Did you know that we produce nearly 10 ounces of tears, or basal tears as they are called, a day? This is to clean and protect your eyes from drying out. If you get an excess of tears you will notice that your nose starts to run.

The reason behind this is because the tears that you produce to clean your eyes drains down into your nasal cavity, and make you, well, sniffle!

The other type of common tears are the ones that you notice when you peal onions, or get something in your eye. If the weather is freezing cold your eyes always start to water. This is caused by a clever little reaction called the Reflex Tears.

Hormones in your eyelids receive a message via your sensory nerves in your eye. The cornea to be precise. This in turn leads to a message being sent to your brain, and then back to your eyelids which then goes on to produce hormones in the glands. Clever eh?

Lilly Martin Spencer 1822 –1902 Painting  Peeling Onions

Lilly Martin Spencer 1822 –1902 Painting Peeling Onions

Different Chemical Reactions in Tears

Evidently there have been studies that say each and every type of tears whether they are emotional tears or reflex etc produce different chemicals in them.

For example emotional tears are said to produce something called prolactin, which is the same as the chemical in breast milk.

It does make sense if you think about it.

Why?

Because each and every emotion we have produces different chemicals. For example, grief can cause a build up of vary types of ligands (peptides).

The scientists identified certain emotions that cause a body wide release of molecules, These go on to perform various functions.

They travel through the body hooking up with receptors on the cells. Once they are attached they send messages that can impact our functions both at the systemic and functioning levels.*

The facts are startling. In other words every thought or emotion you have can systematically have an effect on each and every cell in your body!

For more indepth reading on how our bodies are affected by emotions read:


*experiencelife.com/article/emotional-biochemistry

And of course it does make sense. If you think about it, after we have a good cry we do feel better. But if we cry over something really sad we tend to feel really tired and emotionally drained. Literally.

Our bodies are one organism if you like. If we hurt our toe, we can feel it causing pain in the leg too. If we bang our head it can make us sick. So it doesn't really take a huge leap to realise that every single time we have a good or bad emotion it can affect us on a cellular level.


..



why-do-we-cry-and-what-is-the-process-of-crying

Painkillers and Anti Bacterial

But getting back to tears, why do they make us feel better? Well, emotional tears produce not only prolactin, they also produce something called leucine enkephalin which is a natural painkiller!

Basal tears form lysozyme which is a natural anti bacterial and anti viral chemical which cleans the eyes every time we blink. And onion crying for example produce tears that stimulates the lachrymal glands.

I bet you never thought of all these chemicals when you were blubbering while watching Pretty Woman on TV!


The most amazing thing about tears is that they are said to wash out all the toxic chemicals that are produced in our bodies when we get stressed! How clever is that?

Cleansing Water Inside and Out.

why-do-we-cry-and-what-is-the-process-of-crying

We all cry. If you say you don't then you are either extremely lucky or just plain lying! On a psychological level crying is a real release of pent up emotions which give you a feeling of calmness after the storm.

Many of us cry for a different reason than what people think we are crying over. For example, its been said that when you listen to music, at say a concert, you will see many people with tears in their eyes.

Is it the music that is moving them? Well yes it can be. But if you take a closer look you will notice that many of the people who are moved to tears are in fact older. So in other words they are doing something that the youngsters who are in the audience with them don't do.

They are remembering. Loved ones, happy times, sad experiences and so on. The music is just acting as an emotional trigger and bringing the memories back to life.

So if you ever see a person crying over a film or a piece of music, don't laugh, they maybe be remembering something a lot more important.

Crying by Roy Orbison

So just remember, have a good cry. Its great for the body. But remember, crying too much can cause a psychological effect on your body that is detrimental to your health. Bipolar depression can cause someone to cry more often.

Watch out for the symptoms, and if you see someone crying a river, then get them checked out. They may have an underlying physiological or mental problem.

Hope this didn't move you to tears!

Emotions

© 2014 Nell Rose

Comments

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 26, 2016:

Thanks so much Maureen, glad you liked it, its fascinating isn't it?

Maureen on March 26, 2016:

Did you know that empaths cry more? They absorb the emotions around them. I was called a crybaby when I was young. Turns out I am an empath. I feel more emotions than the average person.

Good article, I learned something today.

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 16, 2016:

Thanks Suelynn, glad you like it, and for the comment, nell

Suelynn on March 16, 2016:

Interesting read, Nell, and well written as always. Great job. :D

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 19, 2015:

Hi Sammy, are you anywhere near St. Josephs Medical Center? If you are I think you should get in touch with them to see if they can find help for you, okay? you are obviously distressed and need help.

Sammy on January 18, 2015:

This. man. is. saying it. was. my. fault. the. tsunami. killed. my. family

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 18, 2015:

I believe you should try to find help at your local hospital or Doctors, they will be glad to help, good luck Sammy, please take care and remember that there are people who can help you.

Sammy on January 18, 2015:

USA that's. where. live

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 18, 2015:

Hi Sammy, you really need to see a doctor and ask for help, surely they can get professional help for you? there must be help groups near you? what country are you living in?

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 18, 2015:

I am so sorry, I hope you have a good support of friends and helpers?

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 18, 2015:

Have you any other relatives Sammy?

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 18, 2015:

Hi Sammy, I am so sorry for your loss.

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 13, 2015:

Hiya Linda, yes I know what you mean! crying is a pain! lol! but honestly it does make you feel better after a good weep, but I would rather be happy all the time, thanks as always, nell

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on January 13, 2015:

Wow! Very interesting! So many facts about tears...I had no idea about. I thought I forgot how to cry, but recently learned I didn't after all. Now I wish I did really forget. Oh my. It's a losing battle!:)

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 13, 2015:

Hi lovedoc, yes I never realised just how many chemicals went into the makeup of tears! thanks so much for reading, nell

lovedoctor926 on January 13, 2015:

A very good hub. I agree. Crying is a good way to release pent-up emotions. People cry for different reasons. thanks for sharing this interesting hub.

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 13, 2015:

Hi Daisy, thanks so much, this really fascinated me when something caught my attention on tv, I had to find out more, glad you liked it, nell

Daisy Mariposa from Orange County (Southern California) on January 13, 2015:

Nell,

Thanks for publishing the article. I enjoy reading Hubs in which I learn something new.

Nell Rose (author) from England on September 18, 2014:

Hi Conservative Lady, thanks so much for reading, and I am glad you liked it, nell

Sheila from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State on September 17, 2014:

Interesting Hub Nell Rose! Voted up and interesting. Enjoyed learning about tears.

Nell Rose (author) from England on September 17, 2014:

Thanks so much Dianna, its amazing isn't it? thanks for reading, nell

Dianna Mendez on September 16, 2014:

I cry over different things: calls from my loved ones, good news, great movies, etc. Good to know my tears are helping my body. Thanks for the education, Nell. I think I'll go shed a few tears now!

Nell Rose (author) from England on September 16, 2014:

Thanks so much Vellur, I was amazed at the amount of chemical changes in tears! it nearly brought me to, well, tears! lol!

MartieG aka 'survivoryea' from Jersey Shore on September 16, 2014:

So interesting - amazing that sometimes crying does make you feel better : )

Paula Atwell from Cleveland, OH on September 16, 2014:

Fascinating topic. It is always interesting to discover how our bodies work. :)

Mary Hyatt from Florida on September 16, 2014:

I saw my late hubby cry one time when he heard the news his Father had died. Men are taught to "man up" and not cry, but I see no reason why we women should do all the crying for the ills of the world.

You wrote a wonderful Hub chocked full of info that I certainly never knew.

Voted UP, etc. and shared.

Nick Deal from Earth on September 16, 2014:

Sometimes nothing feels as good as crying a river though. Especially when you've kept it cooped up inside for a while.

Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on September 16, 2014:

Very interesting, Nell. You are so creative and come up with such interesting topics. I never knew all this about tears and crying. Voted Up, U,A,I and H+

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on September 16, 2014:

Interesting and informative hub about crying. Crying does give instant relief. Crying too much will only give a headache. Each emotion producing different chemicals - that is interesting. Great hub, voted up.

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 22, 2014:

Thanks DrBill, glad you liked it, yes who would have guessed that crying could produce so many different chemicals?

William Leverne Smith from Hollister, MO on July 22, 2014:

I've always assumed I cried because my Mother did, sometime happy, sometimes sad. You've provided some new insights I really appreciate! Thanks for sharing! ;-)

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 11, 2014:

Hi grand old lady, thanks so much for reading, yes its amazing isn't it? and not something we ever think about, glad you liked it, nell

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on June 10, 2014:

I always thought tears were just water, so it's a revelation to learn that they are actually chemicals that the body releases. And your comment on how emotions can release chemicals in the body makes me understand how your feelings can either make you very sick, or you may die from sadness. Very interesting hub, voted up.

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 10, 2014:

Thanks mary, I never realised just how strange our chemicals were when we cry, its not something we think of is it? lol! thanks as always, nell

Mary Hyatt from Florida on June 10, 2014:

I haven't had a good cry in a long time, but I guess that's good. My life is good right now, thank the Lord!! I do cry in sad movies, but have't seen one of those in a while either.

Who knew tears were so beneficial? Great Hub; interesting as usual.

Voted UP etc. and shared.

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 09, 2014:

Hi Dolores, lol! yes you do! its not something we think about when we are crying, what chemicals are released? lol! thanks for reading, nell

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on June 09, 2014:

Nell this was so interesting. I didn't realize that tears could release pain killing chemicals in the brain. But I find that crying leaves me with red, hurting eyes and a stopped up nose. But sometimes, you just have to cry!

Nell Rose (author) from England on May 26, 2014:

Hi Anna, thanks, yes it was so sad about my friend, I still miss her. I have never cried over adverts, unless its because I get so frustrated because they go on too long! lol! thanks for reading, nell

Anna Haven from Scotland on May 26, 2014:

I'm really sorry to hear about your friend Nell.

I had no idea that crying was so complicated. You explained it very well. I have even been known to shed a tear at certain adverts!

Anna

Nell Rose (author) from England on May 17, 2014:

Hi Martie, yes I wondered that too, I will have to look it up, we used to laugh so much it hurt! lol! thanks as always, nell

Martie Coetser from South Africa on May 16, 2014:

What an interesting hub about the chemicals produced (or activated) by tears! Especially the painkiller, leucine enkephalin. Now where will I get a list of tear-pulling movies?

Of course, I prefer laughing - the hysterical kind of laughing. It also relieves tension and pain.... I wonder if it activates the same chemicals as crying.

Very interesting hub, thanks Nell... :) I am going to add the link to my hub titled "Emotional Orgasms".

Nell Rose (author) from England on May 16, 2014:

Thanks Deb, glad you liked it, have a great weekend! nell

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on May 16, 2014:

Good work, Nell. This sure answered a couple of questions.

Nell Rose (author) from England on May 08, 2014:

lol! thanks Michelle! yep those good old chemicals!

Michelle Liew from Singapore on May 08, 2014:

LOL! Knew there had to be chemistry involved! Thanks for sharing, Nell!

Nell Rose (author) from England on May 01, 2014:

Hi Eddy, thanks so much for reading, always great to see you! nell

Eiddwen from Wales on May 01, 2014:

A brilliant hub Nell and voted up up and away !!!!

Great work as always and here's to so many more hubs for us both to share on here.

Eddy.

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 30, 2014:

Thanks Lady G, Aw that's great thanks so much, hope your having a great evening, nell

Debra Allen from West By God on April 30, 2014:

I have always told people that tears cleanse the soul and now I know the real reason they do. Thank you, thank you, and more thank yous for writing this up. I am sharing this all over!

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 30, 2014:

Hi Lizzy, I never thought of that! what a great idea! I will do that from now on, thanks for the tip, and for reading, nell

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on April 30, 2014:

Very interesting, Nell! I have found a way to avoid the onion tears, however. Peeling and slicing onions that are cold will mostly prevernt tears. So I store my onions in the 'fridge. I rarely cry when dealing with onions anymore. Because THOSE kinds of tears are just plain annoying. ;-)

Voted up, interesting and useful.

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 30, 2014:

HI Writer, thanks so much for reading, yes its amazing isn't it? I never even thought about it before until I suddenly saw something that got my interest, then of course I had to go research it! lol!

Writer Fox from the wadi near the little river on April 30, 2014:

Wonderful research! It's interesting to know that there is a natural painkiller released when people cry. Voted up!

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 28, 2014:

Thanks Gypsy, yes I bawl like a baby when I am sitting on my own! lol! thanks for reading, nell

Gypsy48 on April 28, 2014:

Interesting read. A good cry always makes me feel lighter. Like you I only cry when I am alone. Voted up and interesting.

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 27, 2014:

Hi pras, thanks so much for reading, and great to see you!

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on April 26, 2014:

I feel "free" after crying, because I can release my emotional feeling. Good job, Nell. I really enjoy reading this hub. I also learn about crying through this hub. You always the best here. Voted up!

Prasetio

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 23, 2014:

Hi Genna, thanks so much for reading, yes people can cry too much, which is a sign of maybe depression, thanks Genna, nell

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on April 23, 2014:

I am one of those women who “cries for happy”, beauty and sadness. I agree that crying is healthy, but too much can be detrimental and is usually a sign of an underlying problem. Very interesting hub, Nell .

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 23, 2014:

Thanks heidi, yes its been hard recently, but maybe that's why I needed to write this? not sure, but thanks for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 23, 2014:

Thanks Faith, yes its been a horrible time, I still feel like I want to ring her, but of course it then suddenly makes me realise that I can't, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 23, 2014:

Hi Flourish, yes the make up! lol! thanks so much for reading, nell

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on April 23, 2014:

I wouldn't have thought to even ask the question! Very interesting. Sorry to hear that you've had a loss to cry about recently. Take care!

Faith Reaper from southern USA on April 23, 2014:

So sorry about your best friend dear Nell. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this time of loss. Hugs

sujaya venkatesh on April 23, 2014:

weep out guys

FlourishAnyway from USA on April 22, 2014:

This was an interesting topic and a very interesting read, Nell! Crying can feel like a big relief, but it's inconvenient if it messes my makeup or happens at the wrong time. Voted up and more!

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 22, 2014:

LOL! thanks bravewarrior! I get the itch to go and start researching! have a great evening over there in lovely Florida!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on April 22, 2014:

That's what I was hoping for, my friend!

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 22, 2014:

Hi bravewarrior, I will have to look that up about laughter, its a thought isn't it? thanks you just gave me another hub! LOL!

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 22, 2014:

Hi denise, yes I never thought about hormones and stuff in tears, its strange isn't it? thanks so much for reading, nell

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on April 22, 2014:

I love a good cry. I don't really like crying over heartache or misunderstanding because it's so heart wrenching, but I do feel somewhat better afterwards. I really had no idea that crying for different reasons affect different hormone releases and parts of the brain. Very interesting, Nell. I wonder if laughter is as complex?

Denise W Anderson from Bismarck, North Dakota on April 22, 2014:

Very interesting information! I didn't realize that hormones are released through the tears we cry. I know that I tend to water up more often than most people. I thought it was just because I was overly sensitive, but according to this hub, it is because I remember things more. I suppose that is true. My feelings are very close to the surface, and I cry easily during movies, music, or special occasions.

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 22, 2014:

Hi elayne, thanks for reading, yes its amazing isn't it? nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 22, 2014:

Hi Alicia, thanks for reading, and I am glad you liked it, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 22, 2014:

Hi The Stages, you too, and thank you so much for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 22, 2014:

Hi Chitrangada, glad you liked it, and thanks so much for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 22, 2014:

Hi DDE, thanks so much for reading, and have a wonderful day!

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 22, 2014:

Hi Faith, yes me too, my best friend died a few weeks ago, and I was just stunned to be honest, now I cry whenever I think of her, with onions I am fine because I have a secret weapon against onion tears! lol! contact lenses! thanks so much, and have a wonderful day, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 22, 2014:

Hi travmaj, yes my mum used to say that, stop bawling she would say! lol! thanks again, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 22, 2014:

Thanks Rozalyn, I tend to cry when I am on my own, and hold back when i am with the public, just like you, it's a bit embarrassing, but if it helps then who cares? lol!

Elayne from Rocky Mountains on April 22, 2014:

It's always a relief to have a good cry now and then and now I know why. Thanks for your enlightening hub! Interesting to know the chemistry behind the tears.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on April 22, 2014:

This is very interesting, Nell! Thanks for sharing an informative and enjoyable hub.

Kathy Henderson from Pa on April 22, 2014:

Great Hub Nell, very packed with interesting tidbits, most new to many. Thanks for the research and information. Have a blessed day :)

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on April 22, 2014:

Very interesting information!

I cry very rarely. But now I will think twice before holding back the tears.

But honestly I learnt a lot from this hub. Thanks!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on April 22, 2014:

Crying can sometimes make one feel good and on other occasions crying can be sad. A well -informed hub on crying I enjoyed reading such a useful hub.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on April 21, 2014:

Awesome hub, Nell! I really learned a lot about crying here. Fascinating read. I cry when it comes to small children and seeing them unhappy. When someone dies though, it is as if I am in shock after or reality will hit me about a week later, and then I have a good cry, and all that will set it off is when someone may mention just one word and boom ...here come the tears. I always wondered why the tears flow when peeling onions and now I know! Interesting for sure.

So true, after a good cry, one does feel much better, especially if you have been holding in a lot of stuff for a long period of time.

Up and more and away.

Blessings

travmaj from australia on April 21, 2014:

Goodness, I'd never imagined that crying could be so beneficial. I should do it more often. Seriously, it makes sense when you read the facts. Thanks for that. I come from an era of being told crying was something to be ashamed of. How things change - thank goodness. Crying is much more acceptable today. Great hub. Voting.

Rozalyn Winters on April 21, 2014:

Really well written hub and very informative. I learned some new facts about crying--I did not know that endorphins are released when crying. I always try not to cry, but now I see that it has a helpful purpose, and might relieve pain. I don't like to cry in public, but I may just let myself have a good cry alone more frequently, rather than always trying to fight it. Maybe I'll feel better. Thanks :-)

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 21, 2014:

Thanks suzette, lol! yes that's okay! I started writing this before I realised I was if you know what I mean! lol! something on tv as usual got me thinking, and my fingers hit the keys running! haha! thanks as always, nell

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on April 21, 2014:

What an interesting hub, Nell. I never stopped to analyze my tears before so this is fascinating. I never realized so many hormones were invoked in crying. I'm a cryer - it doesn't take much to make me cry, but I cry more from happiness than sadness, so I guess that is all right. LOL!

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 21, 2014:

Hi Ruby, yes me too, I cry at the drop of a hat! lol! that's why i won't watch tear jerkers on the tv! lol! its fascinating isn't it? I never knew about how the chemicals changed when we cry either until I researched it, thanks as always, nell

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on April 21, 2014:

Goodness, it's good to know that i'm cleansing my body when i cry. I must have the cleanest body on earth. I find the older i get the more easily i cry. A good tear jerker movie is wonderful. Really i didn't know tears produced so many chemicals. Voted interesting and up...

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 21, 2014:

Hi Jackie, that's so true, its amazing isn't it? who would have thought crying could produce so many different chemicals? thanks as always, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 21, 2014:

Thanks Shyron, I tend to cry over silly things these days! lol! thanks so much for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 21, 2014:

Hi MsDora, thanks so much for reading, yes I learned so much researching this, amazing isn't it?

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 21, 2014:

lol! thanks Radcliff yes me too! thanks for reading, nell

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on April 21, 2014:

So very interesting Nell. It proves to me or strengthens the belief of a higher power. How fantastic but complex just a simple thing as crying can be. I really loved this! ^+

Can't find a share button...will check back later.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on April 21, 2014:

Nell, thank you for the information about crying. I cry when my feelings are hurt, but only someone I care about can hurt my feelings and make me cry. I learned a lot from your hub.

I love Roy Orbison, all of his songs and this is one of his best.

Voted up UABI and shared.

Hugs to you Nell

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on April 21, 2014:

Like I mentioned in my last hub, I know from experience the value of tears, but I learned much more from your article, e.g "every emotion we have produces different chemicals." You explained that fully.Thank you and voted up.

Liz Davis from Hudson, FL on April 21, 2014:

Interesting! My eyes must be super-clean because I'm a crybaby. lol

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