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Why is Crying Healthy?

Dry Eye

Dr Chirag
Dr Chirag
4 min read

Crying in humans is often seen as a natural response to a wide range of emotions like joy, grief, frustration, and sadness.

Aside from being an expression of heightened emotions, crying is also a complicated process that plays a vital role in our day-to-day life and health.

Depending on the context, our tears can mean a lot of things as they are caused by a variety of reasons. Interestingly, only humans are known to cry due to emotional and complex reasons as opposed to most animals, who cry as part of normal ocular functioning.

In this blog, we take a look at the process of crying, different perspectives on crying, the different types of tears we shed, our lacrimal system which is responsible for shedding tears and the various interesting reasons as to why we cry.

Different Perspectives on Crying

    • Crying can be both a positive and a negative experience for people as we cry when we are feeling extremes of either positive or negative emotions.


    • We often look at the negative and positive sides of crying from three different perspectives – spatial, temporal and public-private.


    • Spatial Perspective
      When we look at crying from a spatial perspective, crying in a negative sense is perceived as reaching out to some other place or “there”, for example missing a friend who’s no more or missing home. In contrast, positive crying is seen as an intense awareness of one’s surroundings, such as a relative’s wedding.


    • Temporal Prespective
      The temporal perspective on crying looks at negative crying as looking at either the past or the future with dread, like regretting decisions made in the past or being apprehensive about future events. Under this perspective, positive crying is a response to feeling as if a moment is eternal and celebration of a frozen and blessed present.


    • Public-Private Prespective
      Public-Private Perspective on crying looks at crying as a process to inform the external world about our private selves. Under this model, negative crying is seen as a way to signal the outside world that our inner self needs help and positive crying is seen as recognition of beauty, glory, and wonderfulness.


Types of Tears

Tears Image

We can classify the tears we shed into three main groups based on how they are.

    • BasalTears
      They are produced at the rate of 1 to 2 microliters per minute and their primary role is to keep our eyes lubricated and smooth out the cornea.


    • ReflexiveTears
      Reflexive tears are caused by our reflex actions to certain stimuli like chopping up onions or getting poked in the eye.


    • Psychic Tears
      Tears caused by heightened emotional states are known as pyschic tears and are produced by the lacrimal system.


The Lacrimal System

The production of tears in humans is controlled by the lacrimal system, which consists of the lacrimal glands and the lacrimal sac and ducts. The lacrimal glands are responsible for creating our tears while the lacrimal sac and ducts are responsible for draining the tears. As we age, the lacrimal gland’s secretion starts declining which can lead to dry eye syndrome in people.

Why it’s important to cry

As previously stated, tears are not only a reaction to our emotions but also a very important role in our eye’s health by lubricating it regularly and keeping our eyes from becoming too dry.

Read Also: Why do we cry?