The truth is that either out of joy or out of sadness, people cry quite often. In fact, according to a study published in the journal Cognition and Emotion, on average, American women cry about 3.5 times a month, while American men cry about 1.9 times a month.
However, this is not necessarily a harmful habit.
It is worth mentioning that although most people have associated tears with negative moments, there are actually three categories of tears. Ophthalmic tears are what lubricate and protect our eyes, reflexes are activated by irritants such as dust or smoke, and emotional tears arise after an increased emotional state such as anxiety, joy or sadness.
Although tears are mostly made up of water, emotional tears are full of stress hormones, which “flush” our body. In particular, in a state of intense emotional coverage (joy or sorrow), the human body perceives emotional change as stress. This results in the brain, adrenal glands, kidneys and sympathetic nervous system working together to release these hormones from the body.
In this case, the heart and lungs speed up breathing and heart rate, and the extra blood flow is directed to the muscles, in case we need to move fast to avoid any danger.
This means that crying is one of the body’s ways to restore balance. As Frontiers in Psychology pointed out, the parasympathetic nervous system is activated and the brain releases oxytocin to help us relax from the increased state.
This process alleviates the pain, lifts the mood and helps us to calm down.