Pop quiz, hotshot.
A 2006 study in Scientific American Mind magazine said that on average men cry X times a month and woman cry Y times a month. Take a guess on the numbers and see how close you are (answers below).
Now, whether you’re above or below average, consider crying a little bit more. When you feel the hot, salty tears coming, don’t hold back. Let them flood your eyes and pour down your cheeks, because while our egghead pals over at Wikipedia insist there are no conclusive studies showing why people cry, there really are a lot of reasons why crying is great. Hear me out:
• Share the tears. Crying brings us closer together. In these anonymous days of gated communities, big-box stores, and rampant Interneting, sometimes people just need the attention and care of a friend. I mean, when you see your pal crying, what happens? Maybe your eyes well up and you throw them a hug. And maybe that’s exactly what they need and why the tears poured out in the first place.
• Body buzz. Studies show that emotional crying (versus dry-eyes crying, onion crying, or eyelash-in-your-eye crying) actually releases a bunch of wacky hormones that relieve tension by balancing your body’s stress levels. If you’ve ever heard people say ‘I’m okay, I had a good cry,’ then it could be because crying helps straighten out your chemically crooked self right when you need it most. And let’s face it — that’s a lot better than holding it all in and shorting out all your inner circuitry.
• Hey, I just crapped my diaper. Babies cry before they talk, to let us all know when they’re tired, frustrated, scared, in pain, or when they really, really, really want their video back on. The point is that crying is a primal, universal way to communicate and sure does tell us when something’s up. Way to program that into us, God and/or evolution.
Yes, even though men only cry once a month on average and women let them pour five times or more, there’s room for tears plus, people. So don’t hold back because you think it’s embarassing or a sign of weakness, no. When memories of lost loved ones flood back or painful experiences hit you hard, I say just let those big, wet tears rain down without any guilt or shame.
Because we all need to let go sometimes.