Tears and Health
by Ondine Brooks Kuraoka
Feeling stressed? Go ahead and cry it out. According to research by William H. Frey II, PhD., Director of the Alzheimer’s Research Center at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, MN, emotional tears likely evolved in humans to rid the body of stress-induced chemicals. Consequently, crying may decrease susceptibility to stress-related illnesses and protect the brain from damage caused by unalleviated stress.
Tears shed in response to emotion have higher protein content than those which cleanse an irritated eye. In a study of “normal” crying behavior, women logged an average of five crying episodes, contrasting with an average of one episode for men. The research could increase our understanding of the biochemistry of emotional stress and wellness.
So instead of keeping a stiff upper lip, let’s all do ourselves a favor and let the tears flow. We might be healthier for it.