Why We Cry: The Truth About Tearing Up
The lowdown on tears: Why some cry easily, others don't cry, and how to handle all those tears.
Benefits of a Good Cry?
People often refer to a cry as a good cry and say they feel better
But is that always true?
Usually, but not always, says Bylsma. In a study of nearly 200 Dutch
women, Bylsma found that most did say they felt better after crying. But not
everyone. "We found that individuals who scored higher on [measures of]
depression or anxiety were likely
to feel worse after crying."
Exactly why isn't known, she tells WebMD. It could be that those who are
depressed or anxious simply don't derive the same benefits from crying as
Coping With Crying
If you're not a world-class crier but are often around those who cry, it can
make you feel awkward, useless, or just uncomfortable. That's because when
someone cries, it shows their vulnerability, Sideroff says. "I think in
general, people are uncomfortable with vulnerability.'' When the crier exhibits
vulnerability, Sideroff says, "it's shifting the level of intimacy of the
environment.'' Just being in that more intimate environment makes the other
person uncomfortable in some cases, he says.
So, how can you -- and how should you -- respond to a crier? Here are four
- Be aware that if you do nothing, you can make the crier feel worse, Bylsma
- Try to do something supportive. What that is depends on the situation and
how well you know the person, ''So hugging someone you aren't very close with
might not be appropriate, while simply listening in an empathetic way would be
suitable," Bylsma says.
- Don't assume you know how to comfort them. ''The less intimate the
relationship, the more it is appropriate to begin by asking how you can help
and be supportive," Sideroff says.
- Know that criers who tear up in a very large group generally feel more
uncomfortable than those who cry in front of one or two people they're familiar
with. But even in a large group, the criers welcome support from those they
didn't know well, Bylsma has found.
Trying Not to Cry
Sometimes, it's just not cool to let the tears flow -- you are trying to put
up a brave face while accompanying a loved one to a medical treatment, for
instance. Or your boss has just told you your hours will be cut in half.