Sometimes, you just need a good cry. This is true for your emotional wellbeing, but did you know it can also benefit your overall body and eye health as well?
Why Do People Cry?
There are many reasons why our eyes water, whether it’s crying or not. Sometimes it’s simply from being overwhelmed with emotions, whether it’s happiness, sadness or stress. Other times it’s just from cutting onions.
There are three different types of tears we produce, with each being triggered in a different way:
- Basal tears constantly coat your eyes, protecting them, keeping them free from bacteria and protecting your eyes from debris such as dirt.
- Reflex tears are triggered by irritants in the air, like smoke, onion fumes or chemicals such as bleach or other cleaning products. They wash out the irritants to ensure that your eyes don’t get scratched and your vision isn’t compromised.
- Emotional tears are triggered by emotions, such as sadness or extreme happiness. These contain certain proteins and hormones that are thought to help you feel more relaxed after emotional crying.
What are the benefits of watery eyes and crying?
So, are there specific benefits to crying? Interestingly, shedding a few tears has been found to have both social and physiological benefits. Studies show that crying promotes social bonding, and that those who cry while receiving comfort from friends and family end up feeling better than those who don’t shed any tears, but are comforted anyway.
Tears also help prevent damage to the eyes including:
- Eye infection
- Corneal abrasion
- Corneal ulcer
In terms of infection, the highest risk comes from debris such as dirt, pollen or chemicals. When tears wash away these irritants, the risk of infection plummets.
In the end, tears are good for us for many reasons. A good cry, or at least a good watering of the eyes, contributes to preventing dry eye syndrome, flushing out potential infection risks, and releasing endorphins to help us feel better.