I was reading this touching story from one of the forwarded mails and I suddenly realize that there are tears running down my cheeks. I was telling myself to control… it would be so embarrassing to cry that way in office sitting at my desk. But they don’t stop at all and I had to run to the washroom to clean my already reddened face.
It happened to me many times, when I really wanted to put a brave face and not cry at all, but my brain and eyes betray me. It was then, I decided to do a bit of research on net, that why some people cry more than others.
Interestingly, the actual reason why tears are more in some people than others is not yet established. Nevertheless, here are my findings :-p
Tears are secretions from the lachrymal glands that clean and lubricate the eyes. The lachrymal glands secrete lachrymal fluid, which flows through the main excretory ducts into the space between the eyeball and lids. When the eyes blink, the lachrymal fluid is spread across the surface of the eye and flows through the lachrymal canaliculi at the inner corner of the eyelids entering finally into the nasal cavity. An excess of tears can thus cause the nose to run.
There are three types of tears –
Basal Tears : normal continuous lachrymal secretions to lubricate the eye and clear it from any dust particles.
Reflex Tears : This is due to the irritation of the eyes due to foreign particles or exposure to irritable agents or during cough/yawning.
Emotional Tears : These are due to strong emotional feelings like stress, anger, fear, sadness, happiness. In humans, emotional tears can be accompanied by reddening of the face and sobbing — cough-like, convulsive breathing, sometimes involving spasms of the whole upper body.
Emotional tears can sometimes be useful to alleviate stress. That is the reason why people cry even when they are alone, when there is no one else to receive the communication. This explains why we feel refreshed after a good cry :). The hormones released with tears(emotional) have a different chemicals compared to normal basal/reflex tears. They contain leucine encephalin (a natural painkiller) which helps in relieving stress.
There are statements that negate this theory too. However scientists say that there needs to be a strong emotional stimulus for tears to come. Hence they say that the theory about “crocodile tears” (or manipulative crying) is false. It is said that no one can fake crying. They have to conjure strong emotional feelings to produce tears.
Emotional tears are supposedly triggered by nerves running from the limbic system – the part of the brain that controls emotion – to the brain stem at the top of the spinal cord, and from there to the lachrymal glands. It makes sense that many brain systems are involved because both laughing and crying require understanding an emotional context. Also with both, a cluster of physiological responses occur: The muscles of the face are engaged, heart and respiration rates rise, even the voice changes tone.
But what sets off those triggers for some people more readily than others is not known yet. Effect of the society and the surroundings however seems to have an effect on it. For example, it is long determined that men are stronger than women and men who cry are treated as weak beings. Hence men are not at liberty to heal their emotional wounds by crying their worries out. It is said that this is the reason why men take a long time to handle stressful situations, as they may need to work very long and hard to access the grief behind anger.
Having said all this, is there a way to control tears? Psychologists say it is best not to control them and let them out. Because it involves a lot of emotional build-up before you actually cry and it may be harmful to your health to resist from letting it out.
Having said that, crying for days together can be harmful too as it has the danger of the person going into depression. In this situation, it is best to divert yourself by keeping your mind busy with some interesting tasks and thinking happy thoughts. It is all about manipulating your brain. Act as if you are happy and your innocent brain believes you 🙂
Before I end this post, wanted to quote this beautiful statement :
“perhaps our eyes need to be washed by our tears once in a while, so that we can see Life with a clearer view again.”