Why we cry

For emotional tears to kick in, our limbic system, which is the part of the brain that regulates our emotions, sends a signal to our brain’s message system to activate our lacrimal glands to produce tears. But crying is more than a sign of sadness, happiness, anger or frustration. It is triggered by a whole range of emotions, from empathy to disappointment.

When we cry, we get social support and this emotional empathy makes us feel better and uplifts our spirits. Medical journal research reveals that when we cry, our body releases endorphins and oxytocins. These natural chemical messengers help release emotional distress along with physical pain. In other words, crying is a self-healing mechanism that helps our bodies cope.

We are more likely to cry copious tears when we experience significant pain like during childbirth or a toothache or a broken heart. We should not think that crying is a sign of vulnerability or weakness. On the contrary, crying reveals a person’s strong desire to express to the world her feelings of hurt, happiness or loneliness. Sharing our vulnerable side also allows our loved ones, family and cherished friends to console us with their actions of hugs, compassion and the emotional support that contributes to human connection and bonding.

These past three months have been rather crying periods for me. Interestingly, the copious tears I shed are tears of joy, appreciation and realization that there are so many people out there who love and appreciate the person that I am. The tears are a manifestation of my deep happiness as I thank the Lord God for the gift of true and cherished friends and acquaintances who continue to express through text messages and emails daily their high regard and appreciation. I am humbled by all these expressions of friendship and love.

The good lesson I have learned from these crying episodes is that when we show people our real and authentic self, they respond with equal portions of love, care, compassion, laughter and understanding. We, therefore, create together a web of unity, of shared ideals, of kindred spirits filled with joy, sunshine and light.