Why do I start crying
Why do we cry
The first thing we do when we enter this world is cry. Children then do it openly and without shame, but as adults we start hiding it. Men often feel that crying is unacceptable, while women are constantly being accused of being overly sensitive. Where does crying come from? Why do we cry at all and how much is too much?
The cathartic function - "I'm feeling better"
You may know how healing it can feel to "let it all out"? And that's true even on a chemical level.
Emotional tears are different from 'reflex tears' (which nourish and protect the eyeball). They have higher levels of stress hormones, contain a natural pain reliever, and stimulate the production of endorphins - hormones that help make us feel happy and satisfied. Thus, emotional tears can serve as "emotional pain relievers". This is called that cathartic function of crying.
One study found that up to 85% of women and 73% of men feel better after crying. There is an emotional healing effect to crying that can help us overcome our grief, gain something positive in the process, and then move on.
The social function - a supportive shoulder
Maybe you know how important it can be to comfort someone who is crying or to be comforted when one is sad? Oddly enough, the consistency of emotional tears is "stickier" than other types of tears. Therefore, they run down our cheeks more slowly. Some scientists see this as further evidence that emotional tears are a social function to have.
Crying can be a way to let those around us know that we need comfort, support, and bonding. Those in the "comforter role" feel empathy, compassion and possibly gratitude for being entrusted with something so personal. Disclosing our vulnerability to others can strengthen our relationships and help us overcome difficult times with the help of others.
Emotional balance - "For better or for worse"
In addition to the cathartic function and the social function of crying, a third theory suggests crying as an essential part of a balanced inner world of feelings. In more complex words: a kind that emotional homeostasis or maintain emotional balance. This means that crying, like laughing, is a part of being human and being part of one's sanity. According to this theory, feelings of shame or guilt that hinder this process of emotional relief are unnecessary or even counterproductive.
To put it simply: if we feel the need to cry, we should and if necessary we have every right to do so. After all, our emotions are short-lived sensations. We are not made for long-lasting happiness or long-lasting sadness.
Sadness cannot be measured in milliliters
Some people wish they could cry more at certain moments, but the tears just won't come. With others, on the other hand, it happens very quickly, even if they are not that sad at all. It can be frustrating when what we're feeling doesn't match what we're trying to express.
One thing is clear, however: knocking yourself out over something that you cannot control will not help. Whether you cry often or rarely, your habits, including when you cry, are part of you. In addition, sadness is experienced from within. No one can visibly measure its intensity from the outside - and no one should try, not even yourself.
Men don't cry
Even today there are many people who believe that men have to be "tough" and should never show vulnerability. Do men really cry less than women?
A 2002 study looked at 31 countries and found that men cried less than women in each country. On average, men cried once a month while women cried 2-3 times a month. There is a cultural influence, however: for example, women in Peru cried less than American men. And interestingly, before the age of 12, boys and girls cry equally much. Only after puberty do the gender-specific differences arise.
Whatever your opinion on gender roles, the feeling of being under pressure with a natural coping mechanism that is supposed to relieve the pressure is detrimental. The taboo that exists for men to show vulnerability can have far-reaching consequences and create an overwhelming number of challenges. Not least when it comes to how men experience depression!
Warning signs of crying
So when did the crying get too much? There is no general rule, because that too context plays an important role. For example, if you are mourning the death of someone close to you, frequent crying is not necessarily an expression of a disorder. Understanding the difference between sadness and depression is essential to this.
In addition to crying often, you may also feel depressed, have less energy and less enjoyment in most things, or less appetite. You could feel very guilty, have low self-esteem, or are having trouble concentrating - all of these things are symptoms of depression. You may not even know why you are crying. Do you have the impression that even everyday life is affected by these feelings and difficulties?
All of these red flags are signs of depression or possibly an anxiety disorder. If so, the earlier functions of crying may no longer be effective. And it's time to seek professional help.
Recognize self-acceptance and signs
So crying is by no means pointless! No matter who you are, when and how you cry, it is a part of you and if you learn to accept it, you are already one step further towards self-acceptance. After all, our emotions are an important and wonderful part of being human.
At the same time, one should not underestimate the signs of depression and anxiety. Stress or burnout can also affect our emotionality. In addition, one in five people will experience a depressive episode in their lifetime. Not only when crying, but also with mental disorders, it becomes clear: It's time to break taboos and pay attention!
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