10 answers to questions about tears and crying

What are tears?

Tears are the fluid that the tear gland secrete. They are almost completely (up to 99%) composed of water. The rest is inorganic substances: sodium chloride (this is the basis of table salt – hence the brackish taste of tears), sulphate and phosphoric acid, sodium and magnesium carbonate.

Also in tears, there is lysozyme, an enzyme due to which they have antibacterial properties, and oleamide, which forms the basis of an oily layer that does not allow moisture to evaporate.

Why do we need tears at all?

They perform several important functions. Tears provide the cornea of ​​the eye, on which there are no blood vessels, with all the necessary nutrients, clean the surface of the eyeball from foreign particles and maintain the normal functioning of the organ of vision.

Tears that are released to moisturize and protect the eyes are called reflex, or physiological. And those that are associated with any experiences are considered emotional. Scientists have long established a neural connection between the tear glands and the brain region responsible for emotions.

So crying is part of what makes us human.

Do animals cry?

Animals accurately stand out physiological tears. It is believed that emotions, close to human, our smaller brothers can not test. Hence, they do not cry from the experience. But the further scientists explore this topic, the more they are convinced that not everything is so simple.

For example, the honorary professor of Colorado University, Mark Bekoff (Marc Bekoff) mentionedDo Elephants Weep as an Emotional Response? about scientific research that confirms that elephants and other animals can cry in response to emotional upheavals. In his opinion, this issue requires a deeper study.

But what about the crocodile tears?

Crocodiles do cry during a meal. But not because they supposedly feel sorry for the victim. Tears are released due to excess in the body of alligators of salts. And the process of absorbing food, their release mechanically activates.

Similarly, turtles, iguanas, sea snakes cry.

Is it true that tears are different?

American biochemist William Frey (William Frey) found that the emotional tears in the chemical composition differ from the physiological, caused by irritation from the corrosive fumes of onions. It turned out that the first more proteins. Frey suggested that in this way the body gets rid of chemicals, the release of which provoked stress.

That is why emotional tears are more viscous, they are better visible on the skin. They may also contain stress hormones and other substances in the body in excess, such as manganese.

That is, it’s useful to cry?

Studies show that people suffering from stomach ulcers and colitis (typical diseases caused by stress), usually cry less often than people without such disorders.

Ed Vingerhoets, a professor at the University of Tilburg, after a long study of the issue concluded that immediately after crying, many people feel worse. But after an hour and a half their emotional state is stabilized. And then it gets better than it was before they started to cry.

Lauren M. Bylsma of the University of PittsburghWhen is crying cathartic ?: An international study. , that people are more likely to feel better after crying, which was caused by positive emotions, or if tears helped to understand and understand something.

If tears are caused by suffering or a person is ashamed for crying, he will feel worse.

Also, the state will depend on witnesses crying. Those who shed tears alone or in the presence of one person (especially if it was a close person, ready to support), felt better than those who cried before two or more people.

Why do we cry not only from grief, but also from joy?

Crying is a protective reaction of the body in response to stress. And it can be caused by both negative and positive emotions. It does not matter what feelings caused the crying. Tears help the body recover faster after stress.

And why is it that women cry more often than men?

Mostly with the prevalent stereotype that crying is a manifestation of weakness. That’s why men just try not to show tears in public. Polls show that they actually cry much more often than they seem. Simply without witnesses.

The lack of restrictions associated with tears in the weaker sex can be one of the reasons that women on average live longer than men. More crying – less stress.

Scientists suggest that the frequency of crying affects hormones. Testosterone can suppress crying, and the female hormone prolactin most likely provokes it.

And one more important nuance. Dianne Van Hemert, Ph.D., a senior researcher at the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research, found that residents of more prosperous countries can cry more often, as this is not condemned by society.

Do people who do not cry?

The lacrimal glands of a healthy person usually produce from 0.5 to 1 milliliter of tears per day (for a year this is an average of half a glass). Stress increases their number, and some diseases reduce.

For example, dry eye is characteristic of the syndrome of Sjogren – an autoimmune disease. Scientists have found out that such patients suffer not only from the discomfort associated with the eyes. They often find it more difficult to understand and express their feelings and emotions, resolve conflicts, and build rapport with others. This once again proves the importance of tears and crying.

How to be, if you can not cry, but really want to?

  • Try to cope with the breath. Take a few deep breaths through your nose and slow exhalations through your mouth.
  • To hold back tears, you can quickly blink.
  • Try to smile through your strength, looking at yourself in the mirror.
  • Take a few sips of cold water, wash, put ice to the temples or to the forehead.
  • Try to shift attention to something neutral, start looking at some object, remember the multiplication table or the alphabet.
  • Pinch yourself, bite your lip, but without fanaticism, so as not to cry from pain.
  • Do a little exercise: wave your hands, shake your head, squat several times or press, wait a couple of minutes in the bar.
  • If the tears stifle, try yelling. Usually after this, the emotional tension quickly subsides.

If there is such an opportunity, it is better not to restrain tears. Do not rub your eyes, do not cry with your face in the pillow, make a cold compress for eyelids. All this will help to quickly put themselves in order.