LIVING WELL, eating well, moving well, thinking well
Have you ever curled up on the couch with a blanket and a box of tissues to watch a favorite tear-jerker, perhaps after a particularly nasty break-up? Romeo and Juliet, Titanic, Wuthering Heights, Brian’s Song (even guys shed a tear watching that one!) – Any one of those or a hundred others can bring out the tissue box.
So why do we do it? Why do we purposefully seek out situations that make us cry? And what about crying in general? Is it really good for you? Can a good cry really make us feel better?
There are actually three different types of tears.
• Reflex tears are produced in response to an irritant (i.e., smoke, onions, a bug getting into your eye, etc.).
• Continuous tears lubricate your eyes to keep them from drying out.
• Emotional tears are produced in response to any number of situations, including frustration, sadness, anger, relief, pain and even joy.
William Frey II, a biochemist at the St. Paul-Ramsey Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, discovered that there is a significant increase in the types and amount of stress hormones released in emotional tears. Stress hormones can damage brain cells and negatively affect nearly every organ and system in the human body. Frey’s research seems to indicate that tears serve a definite purpose by eliminating harmful stress hormones (toxins). Interestingly enough, research has also discovered that those who suffer from stress-related conditions, such as ulcers and colitis, frown on the idea of shedding tears.
How miraculous our human bodies are! It’s amazing that so many people still look down on a body function that is intended to eliminate stress hormones that are responsible for virtually every stress-related illness. Now, is it really any wonder that you feel so much better after a good cry?