Why Do Adults Cry?

Updated on February 4, 2018
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Rev. Margaret Minnicks writes for three different websites: Blasting News, HubPages, and Vocal. She loves sharing interesting things.

Adults and Babies Cry for Different Reasons

Everybody knows babies cry because they can't talk to say what they need. From the time they come out of the womb, babies cry.

Babies cry as a form of communication. That's the only way they know how to express themselves. After they are born, babies cry for three reasons.

  1. Babies cry when they are hungry.
  2. Babies cry when they are sleepy.
  3. Newborn babies cry when they are wet.

Even though hunger is one of the most common reasons that a baby cries, there would be something wrong with adults if they cried when they get hungry, sleepy or wet. Adults don't cry for the same reasons that babies cry, but there are some common reasons adults do cry.

Reasons Adults Cry

There is nothing seriously wrong every time an adult cried. Adults might cry when watching a sad movie even though they know it is fictitious. They do the same thing while reading a sad story in a book.

They might even cry while watching a touching documentary on television about a dog being sad over its master's death.

Adult cry over happy news just as much as they cry over sad news. Most adults cry while chopping up onions.

Benefits of Crying

Scientists believe crying is very beneficial. It rids the body of stress-related toxins. A good cry helps a person release stress. As tears gradually flow, stress hormones decrease and the person will feel much better.

A person should never hold back tears when he or she wants to cry. Doing so could cause damage to the heart, cancer and high blood pressure. Having a good cry can increase blood flow to the heart to protect people from having heart problems. When a person cries, heartbeats decrease. They will feel much better after you cry.

Most psychologists believe that holding your emotions in can be dangerous over the long-term. Research indicates that stifling emotional tears can cause an elevated risk of heart disease and hypertension. Psychologists suggest that people suffering from grief should express their emotions through talking and crying, rather than keeping their emotions bottled up inside.

Studies show that people who suffer from colitis or ulcers have been linked to their not crying as often as they should.

Benefits of Crying
Crying relieves stress.
Crying can help prevent heart attacks, high blood pressure, cancer and other diseases.
Crying slows down heartbeats and leave person feeling much better after a good cry.
Crying rids the body of toxins.
Crying forces you to ask questions about what's going on underneath.
Crying prevents new hurts from getting buried.
Crying produces a calming effect.

Do Men or Women Cry More?

Scientists have found that women cry more than men. They report that women cry about as much as four times more than men. Women cry about 64 times a year, compared to men who cry only 17 times in the United States but not in every country. Men in Romania, Iceland, and Bulgaria cry more and women cry much lesser.

Baby boys and girls cry about the same amount. Thing begin to change around the age of ten or eleven. That's when a difference can be observed. Girls start to cry more than boys.

Grown men are believed to cry less because they sweat more than women. Some of the same toxins are released when men sweat as when they cry.

Women's Health Magazine states that because of the decline of testosterone and estrogen, some middle age men cry more and get angry less, while women cry less and get mad more.

According to the same magazine, men typically cry only when suffering major losses. The rest of the time they just get angry when they are stressed out or frustrated. Women, however, are more likely to tear up when simply frustrated.

When women cry, they are louder than men and shed more tears. This is because men have smaller tear glands than women. Therefore, they are unable to produce the same volume that women do.

Crying Is Good for You

Crying is part of our human nature, and it is beneficial to have a good cry from time to time. Crying is the shedding of tears in response to an emotional state. After a survey was conducted in Florida, a neuropsychologist found that almost 90 percent of women and 80 percent of men stated they felt much better after crying.

Most people believe crying is the best stress reliever instead of depending on drugs, medication or seeking help from a psychiatrist.

Crying is a healing therapy. It helps to reduce stress, improve mood, relieve negative feelings, and recharge the spirit. Crying lowers a person's high manganese level that causes anxiety.

Types of Tears

All tears are not the same.

Psychic tears are produced in response to strong emotions that are brought on because of stress, pleasure, anger, sadness, and physical pain. Those are psychic tears that contain a natural painkiller. That's why some people feel much better after a good cry.

Reflex tears are those that wash out any irritations from the eyes from the eyes and all the toxic chemicals from our bodies that have built up during stressful times.

Crocodile tears are fake tears. Crocodiles pretend to cry while trying to lure their prey. We know crocodile tears are fake because the creatures do not have tear ducts to generate tears. Crocodile tears are insincere and are not linked to emotion at all.

People are said to produce crocodile tears when they pretend to cry for sympathy or to get their own way.

Why Onions Make You Cry

Crying when you peel onions does not indicate that something is wrong. Chopping up onions can cause people to get tears in their eyes because of the chemicals the onions release into the air, according to the Library of Congress.

During the chopping process, an enzyme is released from the onion that changes the amino acids in the onion to sulfenic acid. The sulfenic acid is the substance that irritates glands of the eyes. This process causes reflex tears to form.

For More Information

  • China Daily.com. "The Benefits of Crying."
  • Flintoff, John-Paul. "Why We Cry." The Age.com. 30 Aug 2003.
  • Hingston, Sandy. "Why We Cry." Women's Health. Oct 2006.
  • LaRaia, Barbara. "Gender Differences and the Health Benefits of Crying." San Mateo Daily Journal. 12 Jan 2006.
  • Thomson, Desson. "Why We Cry at the Movies." Seattle Times. 12 Nov 2007.
  • U.S. Library of Congress. "Why does chopping an onion make you cry?"

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