Crying is an emotional behaviour, right? Not really – it’s survival tactic that humans evolved to calm themselves and protect their eyes!
Florid, or psychic tears are the kind you cry when you experience anger, sadness, pleasure, pain or frustration, and they come with two very specific gifts:
- Endorphins to calm you
- Painkilling cues to soothe your irises (the muscle in your eyes that filters the light through. It’s this part of the eye that gives you your eye colour.)
This is why you feel better after a good cry – it enhances your physical state and your mood. Here’s what else happens to your body when you cry:
- Your system sends hormones to release tears. An emotional response triggers the process and your system releases hormones and causes your eyes to fill with tears.
- While emotion is building up in you, your brain releases cortisol which sends your body into fight or flight mode.
- Cortisol also creates tension in your throat and slows breathing – which is why it feels like a lump you have to swallow.
- With emotional tears, you release leucine-enkephalin, an endorphin that helps to improve your mood and reduces pain!
- Evolutionary theorists think that another reason that we cry is to signal to other humans that we are in pain – it triggers our sympathy, and helps to strengthen the community.
So, if you need a good cry, go for it – you’ll feel all kinds of better.
Joanne Hart for HelloDoctor.com