Why Crying Is Healthy
Whether you’re having a “good” weep over a sad movie, feeling nostalgic when the family gathers, mourning the loss of a loved one, or reacting to a frustrating day, shedding tears can give you both an emotional and physical boost. So it’s not surprising more than 88 percent of people report feeling much better after a crying session.
For one thing, there’s evidence to suggest crying helps regulate the immune system. In a study of sixty patients with eczema and an allergy to latex, those who cried while watching a sad movie had less reaction to latex on their skin that those who remained dry-eyed after the end of the movie. Weepers also had lower levels of inflammatory markers on their skin called immunoglobulin, which increase at the site of an allergic reaction.
What’s more, a Japanese study of patients with the auto-immune disease rheumatoid arthritis revealed that those who cry easily have less pain and fewer symptoms than those with a stiff upper lip. Blood tests revealed that immediately after crying, the levels of naturally-occurring immune chemicals that usually aggravate the condition were lower, and that the blubberers had better control of their condition even a year later. Findings like these suggesttears act as some kind of release valve — helping the body to dissipate a build-up of stress hormones that could otherwise harm the body.
On the other hand, too frequent and uncontrollable weeping can be the sign of a serious condition such as such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. Speak with your doctor if your crying fits appear out of nowhere, are hard to control and are too frequent. How much weeping is too much? Statistically on average woman cries 47 times a year. A man? A measly seven.