Why Do We Cry? Know the Psychological Reason

Why Do We Cry? Know the Psychological Reason

Every one of us has cried in our lives. Even our life in this world started with a cry. Most of the time, we may interpret tears as being a sign of melancholy. Some people think it is soothing, and for most of people, it is a medium of expression of emotions. When we were all just a baby crying was the medium of having a conversation with our mother like we are hungry, we are sleepy, or we feel some discomfort. But as we grew up it slowly changed. Why is it that we have never understood the cause of our tears or how, in all of this, they relate to our minds?

When the lacrimal gland and the entire apparatus produce tears without causing eye irritation, it is considered emotional sobbing. Along with the emotional crying alterations of the facial muscles, sobbing and vocalizations occur too (Vingerhoets & Bylsma, 2016).
According to researchers, a wide range of animals, outside humans, have been shown to experience emotional tears (Vingerhoets & Bylsma, 2016). According to Ad Vingerhoets, Ph.D., working as a professor at Tilburg University, Netherland, the study of crying can help us understand more about human nature with respect to emotional expression (Collier, n.d.).

Does gender play a role in crying?

From many decades of research, the conclusion was seen that women cry more than men. As per a study done by William H. Frey in the 1980s, resulted that women cry approximately 5.3 times a month, whereas men cry around 1.3 times a month. And these statistics still appear to be true till date (Collier, n.d.).

A biological aspect of it can be that testosterone hormone secreted in the human male may have a function of inhibiting crying, while on the other side the prolactin hormone secreted in the women’s body which is higher in level can be the reason for crying (Collier, n.d.).
According to a study conducted with the people of 35 countries focused on finding the difference between how regularly men and women cry in countries where more freedom of expression and social resources are available like the Chile, United states, Sweden. On the other side it was reported that there are slightly higher rates of crying in countries like Nepal, Nigeria, Ghana, etc. (Collier, n.d.).

Crying and Attachment styles:

Attachment styles are ways in which an individual interacts and behaves with others who he is in a relationship with like mother, father, friends, romantic partner, etc. It is seen that crying can also be reflected due to attachment styles. The psychotherapist Judith Kay Nelson, Ph.D., in her book “Seeing Through Tears: Crying and Attachment“. She helps understand the link between crying and attachment. She summarized the past research and concluded that when an individual is in a secure attachment. They are more comfortable to express emotions and feelings like crying in way which can be considered as healthy and normal.

The people in an insecure attachment may cry in an inappropriate method which is easily activated and tears which are difficult to sooth (Collier, n.d.) A recent study done by researchers of the Tilburg University resulted that individual in a dismissive attachment style are more likely to be avoidant in getting into a close relationship and cry less and try harder to inhibit the tears rather than all other attachment styles (Collier, n.d.).

What can be the reasons behind an adult crying?

Losses in life, romantic breakups, movies and television shows with sadness and physical pain are some of the hypothetical situations due to which is makes a person. This data was collected by asking people the hypothetical situation due to which they may cry. There are some positive events too where tears are expressed like music, weddings, and reunions, etc. (Vingerhoets & Bylsma, 2016).

Tears are also linked to several emotions, including fear, grief, rage, and disappointment. It is also linked to various joyful, appreciative, ecstatic, and other pleasant feelings. Some kind of feelings might reflect tears, but they cannot express or consummate themselves with respect to other behaviors. (Vingerhoets & Bylsma, 2016).
According to Vingerhoets, there are some antecedents for the process of emotional tears. Those antecedents are as follows:

  1. Physical pain
  2. Attachment–related pain
  3. Empathic, compassionate pain
  4. Societal pain
  5. Sentimental or moral-based (Vingerhoets & Bylsma, 2016).
Is it good to cry?

According to a study, respondents regarded photographs containing tears to be more depressing than those without. In the study, the subjects were shown two different sorts of photographs: one had faces with tears, while the other had tears digitally removed and some images without tears. Participants responded ambiguously to pictures in which the tears had been digitally removed, but they thought the pictures with tears were sadder. It was not simply less sad, but had uncertain emotions reflected through the images (Collier, n.d.).
It is common knowledge that sobbing or crying with tears, also known as “the good cry,” has therapeutic benefits. As per a study done by Frey, he saw that emotional tears had more proteins than non-emotional tears like tears induced by chopping onion, etc. The study implies that crying for emotional reasons involves us in a state of healing (Collier, n.d.).

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