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The Science Behind: Crying (cover-Sara Chaudhari)

Updated: Apr 28, 2020

We have all cried at least once in our lives. It is how doctors identify if babies are alive or not. We cry to express emotions. Usually sadness, but sometimes even happiness.

Why do we cry, though? What does crying have to do with emotions?

Not all tears have to do with emotions. There are 3 types of tears. Each of them has a different purpose.

Basal tears - These are the tears in your eyes right now. Now you might say "but we're not crying right now..." It doesn't matter- these tears are always present in your eyes. These tears make sure that your eyes don't dry out completely. Some people take eyedrops to replace these tears. These tears are drained out of our bodies through our noses, which explains why our noses are runny right after a good cry.

Reflex tears- Ever cut an onion? Ever been in a room with lots of smoke? These tears are produced to protect your eyes from chemicals. Onions produce a chemical irritant called syn-Propanethial-S-oxide. Whenever your brain senses this chemical, it signals the eye's lachrymal glands, so they release tears. Once the tears are in your eyes, they carry the chemicals away, shielding your eyes from harmful substances.

Emotional tears: Perhaps the most obvious. It starts in the cerebrum, which is a part of the brain. The cerebrum is responsible for interpreting emotions, among many other functions.

Then, the endocrine system, responsible for producing hormones, is triggered to release hormones to the eyes, which causes tears to form.

Studies have proved that sometimes having a good cry is associated with stress-relief. So next time you're stressed and confused, grab a box of ice-cream, a box of Kleenex, and cry your heart out. And no, crying does NOT make you a weaker person.

Tell us your favorite sad movie in the comments. Mine is Marley and Me.

Stay Curious ;)






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