Since were the only species to cry tears of emotion, youd think that we would have all the answers as to why we cry, right? Wrong. We dont really know. Some people attribute it to an emotional response to life events; others sayPit was a way of communicating before the. While there are some reasons for crying, like releasing toxins, killing bacteria, and relieving stress, one thing most people can agree on is that after a good cry, we feel better. Now, there is some research to backs up thisPtrain of thought. from the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands brought together a group of people to watch a couple of moviesPgenerally considered to be tearjerkers. The participants watched these emotionally charged films (
La vita bella (Life is Beautiful)P and Hachi: A Dog\’s Tale ) and were asked how they felt before, immediately afterward, andPthen 20 and 90 minutes afterward.
Out of those 60 participants, 28 of them cried during the films, while the other 32 didnt shed a tear. Those 32 said they felt the same way at the beginning of the film as well asPimmediately afterward, and also noted that their moods remained unchanged 20 and 90 minutes later. On the other hand, the people who cried during the films reported feeling lousy immediately after the credits rolled. Twenty minutes later, however, the criers reported that their moods had returned to the levels they reported before the films began. But then, after 90 minutes,Pthe criers reportedPthey were in even better moods than before the movie.
P It\’s easy to suggest that there was a yo-yo effect in which the criers simply felt sad while watching the movie, and then returned to their original mood afterward that they only believed they felt better before. However, it seems that over a longer period of time, these criers did indeed feel an uptick in happiness. P So why did the criers feel better after crying? Though the researchers couldn\’t explain, the criers might have feltPbetter for a number of reasons. Previous studies have found crying reduces stress by through our tears. These tears are called emotional tears, and they arePone of the three types of tears our body produces. It\’s possible these criers also felt better because crying has also been shown to causePthe release of endorphins, our body\’s natural pain killer, thus making them feel better.
PSo, although they had just watched two sad movies, the criers may have been releasing the toxins of a stressful day, and when combined with endorphins, it resulted in a much better mood. P Source: Graanin A, Vingerhoets A, Kardum I, et al. PWhy crying does and sometimes does not seem to alleviate mood: a quasi-experimental study. P Motivation and Emotion. 2015. P Of course we can cry when weвre happy too! Our tear glands or lacrimal glands are constantly producing tears to keep our eyes moist and help clear away dust and other stuff we donвt want in our eyes, but crying is something that happens when we have all sorts of strong feelings or pain and as you probably know, itвs quite hard to stop yourself doing it, especially once youвve started.
Why we do it is rather complicated and scientists still disagree on the reasons. Some people think that because itвs hard to see when youвre crying, it is a biological way of showing that your defences are down. In nature, animals do this to show others that they are not a threat в like a timid dog might show his tummy to show that he doesnвt want to fight. It also could be a signal to others that you need help. Another theory is that because emotional tears contain certain hormones, it could be a way that the human body releases stress. And that might be why lots of people say that they feel better after a good cry!