5 Things You Need to Know About Crying
By Judson Watkins
I remember walking into my therapist’s office one day and pronouncing, “I’m ready to stop crying!”
Crying is a uniquely human trait. More so, tearfulness is a major part of many people’s grief journey. But there is a lot we don’t know about crying. For that reason, we decided to take a deep dive into the subject. Here are five things about crying that you might not know.
- Not everyone cries. Not in the sense that they hold back their tears, but there are some people who report never crying—physically shedding a tear—in their entire adult lives. And there’s a lot of them.
- There are different kinds of tears. Scientist have discovered three types of tears: tears that lubricate the eye, reflex tears (think onion tears), and emotional tears. What’s more interesting is that tears look different when studied under a microscope!
- Crying can actually be healthy! Some psychologist assert that having a good, hearty ugly-cry can relieve stress. Dr. Stephen Sideroff, a clinical psychologist at UCLA and the director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Ethics attributes the health benefits of crying to the act of opening up and being vulnerable to ourselves and those around us.
- It’s okay to cry. There is a stigma against crying in many cultures, leading many to hold back their tears even when it might be best to open the flood gates. It’s important to know that crying is okay. Equally important is not judging someone else for their tears.
- It’s okay not to cry. Not everyone wants to cry, especially in public, and that’s okay! Know that it’s okay to cry, but also know that, if it makes you uncomfortable, there’s nothing wrong with finding some privacy and crying your eyes out.
In the end, it’s important to remember that there is no one right way to experience grief. Different people experience grief in different ways, meaning some people cry and some people don’t. What is important is that we reach out to those in grief and let them know we are there to listen, tears or no tears.
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