Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cry If You Must

By Grace Planas

"The sorrow which has no vent in tears may make other aorgans weep..."
Henry Maudsley

Do you sometimes feel so choked that you need to just pour it out? Why is it that many say they feel a lot better after a good sob?

Tears and Crying are not just for the lonely and the grieving. There are tears of laughter, manipulative tears, theatrical years, and tears caused by the elements that come in contact with our eyes.

Tears and crying are generally associated with anger and sadness. We have to remember that pent up emotional and psychological hurts do not simply seethe inside. They need to find a way out. But while they're churning within your system, your body is producing stress-related chemicals that are physiologically toxic.

A reasonable amount of crying can do the works. A good cry calms nerve-racking tremors in your body during or after a tensed situation. It can save you from mumbling curses or becoming violent which you might just regret later on.

Tears Under Study

Tom Lutz, professor of English at the University of Iowa and author of 'Crying: 
the Natural and Cultural History of Tears, states that there are three types of Tears;

First, Psychogenic Lacrimation which refers to emotional or psychic tears. It is our response to emotional triggers emanating both from external source like pain, broken romance or internal source such as self realization, etc. When emotions make themselves felt, the nervous system fuels the cranial nerves and sends the message to the tear glands. Crying then results.

Second are Basal Tears. These are continuous tears that moisten the eyes. They barely generate visible drops since they either evaporate between blinks or are drained thought the Punta, the small openings at the nose end of each eyelid and eventually to the nose.

The third type is Reflex tears which act whenever smoke, onion vapors, and 
other irritants get in the eyes. Still others wrote that Emotional tears are one form of Reflex tears where only the stimulus differs.

William Frey II, Ph.D. a Biochemist at the St. Paul- Ramsey Medical Center in Minneapolis and one of the world's few tear experts, literally collected tears to chemically examine their contents. Tears caused by onions (reflex tears) contained 98% water while emotional tears contained more toxins.

Examinations also revealed tears contain endorphin, the brain's natural pain killer, whose properties are similar to morphine that can modulate pain, other sensations, and lift up mood. Tears also release prolactin and ACTH (pituitary hormone) in response to stress.

Tears are salty, watery secretions that constantly lubricate, moisten, cleanse, and protect eyes from infection and irritants. Tears also possess oils and mucus that form a thin film to protect the eyes' surface.

Studies further indicate that tears contain proteins, enzymes, lipids, metabolites, sugar and electrolytes, potassium, manganese, and leucine-enkephaline.

Teardrops have also been found to be caused by the clogging of the nasolacrimal ducts, which are passages at the back of the nose.

The stream of tears that run down our cheeks is a no nonsense fluid. Tears contain a wealth of information on its usefulness, composition, and our body system's reaction to internal and external stress. Its efficacy is unquestionable.

Not everyone though believes in the noble purpose of crying.

British Biologist Charles Darwin concluded in his book, The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals, that weeping served no purpose; that is, it is 'an incidental result' of the pressure we put on our face when we twist our face. The same thing happens when we are upset, happy, laughing or sneezing, all pointing to muscle contraction. In the same way that infants contract their faces when upset, the pressure placed upon the lachrymal gland forces the gland to squeeze tears out.

Still others aver that crying, in earlier times, is less of a psychological and physical cathartic experience than initially thought; instead, crying only increases emotional and physical tension.

David Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence states: "While crying can break spells of sadness, it can also leave the person still obsessing about the reasons for despair. The idea of a 'good cry' is misleading; crying that reinforces rumination only prolongs misery."

Yet Frey strongly suggests that crying is a means of expelling a range of excess chemicals and protein from the body. Crying, like urination and defecation, is simply one of the body's ways of excreting wastes.

Belief in the favorable effects of crying can be traced thousands of years ago. In his Catharsis Theory, Aristotle inferred that crying at drama 'cleanses the mind' of suppressed emotions by a process of 'catharsis,' where a reduction of distress takes place by releasing the emotions.

Countless of other researchers believe in crying as one of the human's tools in coping and in being able to maintain physical and emotional health balance. It's no miracle then that you often will feel lighter after a crying spree. 'It was a good cry,' one may say.

Although there are countless ways of paring the effects of negative emotions, 
crying is the most expeditious and convenient option for restoring equilibrium within
 when you are emotionally aching, sort of a first aid tool to buffer the initial shocks that often accompany emotionally straining circumstances.

Simply crying may not resolve issues, dissolve grief or heal old wounds at once. However, once you realize the oodles of accumulated stress chemicals that have built up and still continue to build up, you'll be grateful for this wonderful gift of the human's capacity to expel these poisons.

You don't need to be a scientist to prove that there is comfort after a good cry. Crying, like an intimate conversation with a friend, makes it easier for you to handle emotional ordeals when you feel you just cannot take them anymore.

Read her articles at [http://www.geocities.com/my_hearts_haven]

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