There are some people who just don't cry often and there are others who..well…let's just say that those of us with more "free-flowing" tear ducts have been known to keep some tissues at hand at all times. I'm definitely in the latter camp.
The last three times I've cried were in the last few weeks alone. I cried (just a tiny bit, tears of happiness and thanks) when the kind man helped me jump start my car's dead battery. I cried (along with nearly everyone else watching!) during the reunion of those two American journalists who'd been held for many long months in North Korean work camps. And I cried, full of anxiety and nerves, just before we signed our new apartment lease—tears borne of worry about the future, of pent-up anxiety about the whole apartment hunting/lease-signing process, and of just general move-related angst. (I'm not one of those people who relishes a move!)
In short, I'm guess I'm just a 'cryer'—those are just three small examples and I'm sure I'm missing some other tear-stained moments!
My husband likes to joke that I get weepy at nearly anything—cruddy cable TV movies, sappy commercials, the swell at the end of a song…the tiniest emotional blip…and while he may be right about some of that, I will point him to this new study about the hidden benefits and the meaning behind frequent tears.
According to researchers at Tel Aviv University (published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology) have found that crying has an ability to strengthen human bonds—to fortify attachments and friendships.
"Crying is a highly evolved behavior," explains the evolutionary biologist Dr. Oren Hasson. "Tears
give clues and reliable information about submission, needs and social
attachments between one another. My research is trying to answer what
the evolutionary reasons are for having emotional tears. My
analysis suggests that by blurring vision, tears lower defences and
reliably function as signals of submission, a cry for help, and even in
a mutual display of attachment and as a group display of cohesion."
While I can't say that I'm purposefully blurring my own vision or lowering my own defenses in such an primitive way, I just know that for me, the tears come naturally and usually, it feels somehow good once they're gone. Cathartic almost. And hey, there are other health benefits associated with crying, too–it can lower stress hormones, lower blood pressure, and simply give your face muscles a good stretch.
When was the last time you cried and why?
Image from Flickr