Many would argue that crying is not an every-day activity. Take a step into my all-girl student house however, and you might find that quite a bold statement. A particularly heavy day at university, watching a rom-com, chopping onions and ridiculous laughter fits are frequent occurrences, often leading to a common outcome – tears. Which spurred the thought in me, with so many causes surely not all tears are the same?
So what’s the difference? As humans, we are the only known creatures to shed ‘emotional tears’, but tears are not only categorised into emotional and non-emotional; in fact, three types of tears exist, each carrying out unique roles.
Basal tears are essential for lubrication and hydration of the eye, making them ever-present and highly important (but a bit boring if you ask me).
You know when someone pokes you in the eye? Those are reflexive tears, brought on by sudden irritation like those unavoidable onion fumes.
Now: Psych tears. These are the interesting ones. Also called emotional tears, they stem from sadness triggered in the cerebellum of the brain, causing an endocrine cascade that results in tear formation. But these are special tears. They contain higher levels of certain proteins, including endorphins like leucine-encephalin that when released through crying are believed to reduce pain whilst increasing mood. This is what lead to the term: ‘Having a good cry’.
Feeling stressed? Go on, have a good cry! All you require is emotional stability and this Youtube clip. Enjoy!?