The mood-boosting power of crying

11 min Source: TED Talk

BLUF

Crying is usually associated with children or sadness in adults, but could it be good for us?

Summary

We need to have a healthy relationship with tears and change the way we view crying. That's the view of Kathy Mendias, a childbirth and lactation educator for more than 30 years. But Mendias doesn't just discuss the emotions of expectant mothers; she also talks about the naturalness and benefits of tears in general. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, humans produce 15 to 30 gallons (56-113 litres) of tears per year. In her early years of teaching, Mendias taught a class called 'emotions of pregnancy'. What surprised her was the admission of the partners of the pregnant women that they too had cried during their partner's pregnancy. Following this discovery, Mendias did some research and found that some evolutionary theories state that tears may blur our vision to reduce our ability to react to anger. Furthermore, she discovered that inside of our 'emotional' tears, high concentrations of endorphins help boost our mood. Mendias argues that crying offers us the following benefits:
  • The opportunity for physical relief.
  • The chance for intimacy between individuals.
  • The promotion of physical and mental well-being
Mendias says crying is an expression of our most intense human experiences and that there is no need to be embarrassed or ashamed of it. Transcript available here. a