Don't Hold Back the Tears: 6 Reasons Crying Is Good For You

Sophie Bebeau

Written by Sophie Bebeau on Sat Oct 15 2022.

Turns out that maybe it is okay to cry over spilled milk after all. At least, that's what various studies over the last few decades have uncovered. Don't hold back those tears! Here are six reasons why crying is actually good for you.

Turns out that maybe it is okay to cry over spilled milk after all. At least, that's what various studies over the last few decades have uncovered. In fact, crying has been shown to be such a freeing experience that some cities in Japan have "crying clubs," where club-goers go simply to have a good judgment-free cry. 

Caregivers are usually no strangers to tears. The ups and downs of caregiving can leave even the strongest of us shedding a tear now again. Don't hold back those tears! Here are six reasons why crying is actually good for you:

1. Crying relieves stress and is purifying

The next time you feel the need to cry, don't fight it. Crying can actually make you feel better.

Why? Crying helps relieve stress by releasing chemicals and hormones that make us feel good. Being able to reduce stress has survival value! Chronic stress puts you at greater risk of heart attack, stroke, ulcer, and migraine headaches, and can play an important role in many other areas of our health. 

As for its purifying effect? You know how when you get a few moments alone to shed a tear or two after a long, difficult day, you feel like everything is (at least a little) better? That's because crying can help us deal with our emotions and give us perspective on our troubles.

2. Crying lowers blood pressure

Studies show that people who hold in their tears may have higher blood pressure than those who let them out—a good reason to shed some tears when you're feeling overwhelmed by life. Lowering your blood pressure has big benefits. Patients with blood pressure below 120 have 33% less risk of stroke!

3. Crying improves vision

Tears help keep our vision healthy. They flush out irritants and prevent our eyes from drying, which helps us to see more clearly. Without our tears' lubrication, we wouldn't be able to see!

4. Crying fights off bacteria

Have an infection? Time for a good cry! The reason, according to Dr. William Frey, neuroscientist and research director at the Center for Memory and Aging, is that your tears contain specific proteins and hormones that have antimicrobial properties and help fight off infection. When you cry, these substances are flushed out through a gland in your eyes. Crying helps cleanse the body by removing excess mucus and other fluids from the body. This helps prevent infections and keeps your immune system strong.

5. Crying relieves pain

Crying is a form of self-soothing. When you are upset and feel as though there is no way out, crying can be a way to relieve pain. Crying releases endorphins, which reduces stress and tension in the body. These endorphins also help with depression symptoms, making it easier for you to cope with the situation at hand. Crying also releases a hormone called oxytocin, otherwise known as the "happiness" chemical. So it turns out when you're crying, you're actually helping pave the way for yourself to feel happier afterward!

6. Crying aids sleep

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, crying is a form of "emotional unburdening" that can release tension and stress. In fact, crying has been shown to reduce stress levels during sleep time by increasing hormone levels in the brain associated with relaxation (like melatonin). When these hormones are released at night, they lead to sleepiness—and this effect is even stronger when crying occurs after a stressful day. 

Tears serve an important purpose and shouldn't be avoided!

As adults, we may think that crying is not acceptable or even childish behavior, but this isn't true! Many caregivers try to put on a brave face and stay positive for the sake of their loved ones. If this sounds like you, do yourself a favor - grab a box of tissues and let it out.

Crying is a natural and healthy response to stress, and it has many benefits for your body and mind. So don't be afraid—if you're feeling like crying, just let those tears flow!

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Sophie Bebeau
Sophie Bebeau

Sophie Bebeau is a writer, graphic designer, poet, and multidisciplinary artist living in Green Bay, Wisconsin. When she’s not writing or making things for the internet, she can be found cross-stitching, writing poetry, and snuggling on the couch with a cup of tea and her husband, son, and dog, Buttercup.