As A CHILD I couldn’t understand why my tear ducts were dry when my grandmother died. But that night when my dad tried to lighten the mood with some tickling at my bedtime tuck-in , my giggles turned into crying , much to my horror-and relief.
So it came as no surprise to learn that researchers believe crying and laughing stem from the same part of the brain. Just as laughing has a host of health benefits(low blood pressure , boosts the immune system), scientists are discovering that so ,too , does crying .
“Whatever it takes for an individual to vent and release stress is essential to our emotional health,” says Jodi Deluca , a neuropsychologist . And crying seems to work well : One survey found that 85% of women and 73% of men felt better after crying.
Even more important than acting as stress relievers , tears attract help from other people around us become milder and less aggressive , and they’re more likely to provide support and comfort.
Tears enable self-disclosuer too ; sometimes we don’t even know we’re upset until we cry . “We learn about our emotions through crying ,and then we can deal with them,” says neuroscientist William H.Frey II , author of crying: The Mystery of Tears .
Just as crying can be healthy , not crying-holding back tears of anger or grief-can be bad of our bodies. Studies have linked emotional repression to high blood pressure, heart problems and cancer. “ We are genetically programmed to cry ,and denying that impulse damages our physical well –being ,” says DeLuca .
Despite the benefits of bawling , if crying interferes with everyday life, see your doctor or a therapist . It could be an early sign of depression.
Doctors aren’t prescribing sob sessions just yet; how much we cry depends on genetics ,gender and upbringing .But when you feel like weeping, don’t fight it. It’s a natural and healthy – emotional response.