The Science of Sadness: Why Do We Cry Tears?

Crying is something we’ve all done, from the moment we are born, to when we’re watching a sad movie or laughing with joy.

But what is the biological purpose of creating water from our eyes when we feel strong emotions? First, there are few different kinds of tears.


The basal lubrication in our eyes is that constant layer of moisture that keeps our eyes from drying out.

Then there is the reflex lubrication that produces from irritants like dust or when we cut onions. This is because our brain releases hormones that trigger the glands in our eyes to protect them.

One of the reasons we cry when we are upset is to show those around us our true emotions. It puts us in a state of passiveness, blurring our eyes and almost handicapping us from any aggressive behavior.

Another theory says that crying is a literal way to the shed your stress. When we have any intense emotion of any kind, it needs to come out one way or another.

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 12.57.05 PM

What’s incredibly interesting is that the compositional make up of reflex tears versus emotional tears are much different.

Reflex tears hold much higher levels of proteins within them, while emotional tears hold more of a chemical called ACTH which is a hormone linked to high stress levels. So when we are crying, we are literally releasing and shedding our stress.

Tears can be seen as a physical manifestation of an internal emotional reaction. It is our body’s way of releasing those emotions.

Everyone knows after a good cry you’ll usually feel better, and this is why. It is the release of stress and emotional baggage.

Experiments have been conducted where tears were photoshopped out of pictures of people crying, yet those who view the picture still saw the sadness. People can inherently know when someone is feeling bad.shutterstock_97922762

So go on, don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed to cry. It’s a natural and beautiful state that, in the end, can help us connect to ourselves and others more deeply.

When people see you’re vulnerable, they feel more comfortable to open up.

You can create a strong connection with someone by showing them sensitive that side of you, and in turn, they will do the same.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.