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Crying accompanies man almost from the first moments of his life. Often this is one of the first messages that a newborn baby sends out to the world and it is this cry that the mother waits for, wanting to know that the baby is breathing and is strong. Usually, the need to cry is accompanied by the need to deal with tension, stress. Tears, if we allow them, can be our ally, giving us a feeling of purification and saying that something important is happening to us. Read on for what we need to cry for and find out why we cry!


  1. What is crying?
  2. Why do we cry?
  3. Cry in culture

What is crying?

Cry , and more specifically tears, physiologically protect the eye, protecting it from dryness and contamination. The tears themselves are mostly made of saline and bactericidal substances and are produced by the tear glands.

Why do we cry?

Emotion regulation

Crying plays an important role in the complex system of emotional regulation, which is reflected, among others, in the two-stage theory of crying. First there is a state of high arousal when the sympathetic nervous system is active, followed by a state of equilibrium and increased activity of the parasympathetic system. It is a quick change accompanied by a feeling of relaxation, letting go of emotions or surrendering to them - it is caused by a sudden drop in adrenaline.

This is the point when tears usually emerge. Probably everyone has experience in which, in a situation of great stress, one managed to stay alert, complete all tasks, and only when the crisis is over, reactions from the body such as crying or muscle tremors appear. First aid, car crash or even quarrel situations often follow a similar scenario.

At the level of the body and emotions, arousal occurs, accompanied by a state of mobilization, and when it passes and the body returns to balance, tears appear. The body needs to release the excess tension, and crying is one way to do that.

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The frequency of this mechanism depends on many factors, including temperament, openness or emotionality, but it is worth allowing yourself to take advantage of the benefits of crying. The environment in which we cry is a factor that strengthens the regulation of the crying function.

If tears are met with acceptance by others, with the support of a loved one, it will most likely strengthen the feeling of relief. However, crying in an unfavorable, hostile or aggressive environment may not have a chance to regulate emotional tension, only increasing the feeling of sadness, misunderstanding or tension.

If crying does not bring a sense of relief or balance, but is only a way to reflect on difficult situations, it is not worth underestimating it. A kind of looping in crying, which plunges you into sadness or a long-term depression of mood with the simultaneous inability to cry, can be consulted with a psychologist.

For example, people suffering from depression are often accompanied by the inability to cry, while disorders resulting from traumatic experiences often experience excessive tearfulness, which does not bring a sense of relief or a state of balance. Excessive crying or the lack of it is one of the indicators of the need to take care of the psychophysical state and it is worth using the support of a specialist in such a situation.

Tears to protect the eye and those appearing as a result of an emotional reaction differ in composition.

Communication function

According to anthropologists, humanoids had crying in their behavioral repertoire long before they spoke. Back then, his role was to communicate to other individuals that we needed help. The fact is, we have an innate urge to respond when we see a person cry. In cultures where there is no or very limited permission to cry, it can convey the message "I trust you, I feel safe with you" when I can afford tears in your company.

Cry in culture

Many researchers have confirmed that crying and the tendency to cry largely depend on the culture in which we are brought up, as well as gender and social expectations towards it. The differences between the sexes in the frequency or willingness to cry are largely biological in origin. To a large extent, it is prolactin that is responsible for the frequency with which women cry, and testosterone in men is the substance that reduces crying.

As with most areas of human life, a layer of culture should be applied to the layer of biology. It is one of the factorsmaking it difficult for men to enjoy the benefits of crying freely. This dependence varies in intensity in different cultures, but the dominant tendency discourages men from crying. The culturally promoted features of the male homo sapiens in a large part of the cultural circles include courage, self-control or rationality. In such a situation, there is little room for spontaneous tears, especially in a public situation. This tendency is gradually changing, but still a little boy may hear: "Men don't cry", "It's okay, so don't cry" or "Don't be crying".

Worth knowing

How to react to someone else's crying?

Accompanying someone in crying, regardless of whether they are close to you or not, is associated with a feeling of unease, a certain helplessness or insecurity. The fear of what to say and how to behave often generates more tension.

It is worth remembering that being present, safe and accepting is enough. Message: "I am with you", "I would like to hear you" or "What do you need now?" it is enough. Sometimes it may be tempting to find a solution to the situation that caused you to cry immediately, but remember that there will be time to act and deal with the problem.

First, let the tears restore balance in the body and rest for a while after the experienced tension. Only when this happens, it may be helpful to suggest solutions. Crying serves as a physiological protection, a message for the environment, but most of all, it is a he althy reaction of the body to emotional tension, it favors a return to balance, it gives a feeling of purification and peace. It is worth taking advantage of the benefits that nature has given us and allowing ourselves to tears at a critical moment.

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