A few weeks ago, my son left for college. As I hugged him goodbye, the dam broke and tears flowed from my eyes…I sobbed uncontrollably. Yes, I cry every now and then. And, even though researchers have found that, on average, women cry 64 times a year and men only 17 times, it’s good for both men and women to cry. Here are several reasons why…
Created to Cry. Whether we cry with tears of joy or tears of sorrow, crying is part of who we uniquely are as humans. While many animals have tear ducts, humans are the only creatures to have been scientifically proven to cry as an emotional response.
Crying Cleanses. When we cry for emotional reasons, our tears contain a natural painkiller and endorphin known as enkephalin. This chemical works to relieve pain and brighten our mood. In addition, some studies have shown that crying can release stress hormones. The Alzheimer’s Research Center even reports that 85% of women and 73% of men claim to feel better after crying.
Crying Shows Compassion. In my book All Pro Dad, I shared,
“Author Leo Buscaglia once wrote about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to identify the most caring child. The winner was a four-year-old boy whose next-door neighbor was an elderly man who had recently lost his wife. One day the little boy saw the man crying. So, he walked into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his mother asked him what he said to the man, the little boy said, ‘Nothing, I just helped him cry.’”
We can learn from this little boy that crying with others is sometimes the best way to show we care.
So for all of you out there who resist crying, especially men, just remember that crying can be a great thing for the heart, mind, and soul.
When was the last time you cried? Does it help you to cry? Please share your story in a comment below.