Have You Ever Wondered Why We Cry?

· June 5, 2017
Have you ever wondered why we cry? Discover the reason and what crying is good for in this article!

Crying is often associated with weakness or lack of character. However, giving ourselves the opportunity to cry when we feel like it or need to is good for our health.

In this article, we tell you how tears can help you and when it’s worth using them.

Crying doesn’t make you vulnerable

Westerners have some reluctance to shed tears. This is because we think that if someone sees us crying, they’ll believe that we’re weak, too sensitive or even unstable.

For some, crying is a sign of submission or feeling defeated. However, it can also be used as an emotional strategy and to achieve what they want.

Tears can even strengthen relationships and create bonds. If we cry with someone, we’ll make a connection difficult to break.

However, this emotional behavior is not effective in certain areas or environments, such as in the workplace.

At work, if we shed tears when something doesn’t go well, we’ll be seen as  “the weak one” who can’t be asked to do anything or who won’t deliver extraordinary results.

In a world (or part of it) where expressing emotions is viewed negatively, it’s understandable that we hide when we cry and that we only “invite” people from our inner circle to share that moment with us.

According to Dr. Juan Murube (University of Alcalá de Henares), there are almost 500 emotions that can cause a human being to cry.

Among them, the most well-known are anger, anguish, loneliness and admiration.

It could be said that all these emotions are reduced to two large groups: asking for help and offering assistance.

Crying is liberating

Llorar y reír

Sigmund Freud was the pioneer in studies on crying. The father of psychoanalysis said that crying is an act of liberation.

It was then concluded that suppressing tears can trigger anxiety disorders, asthma or intestinal ulcers. Furthermore, not externalizing our feelings makes us more prone to becoming depressed or sick.

From an emotional point of view, crying balances our mood and makes us feel supported and loved. It also allows us to express ourselves, release bad energy and release what is troubling us.

If we analyze it from the physical side, we can say, for example, that it controls our breathing and causes a soothing effect on the body.

When we cry because of an unpleasant situation, we get a period of calm even greater than what we experienced before the problem that brought us to tears occurred.

For example, crying in bed because your partner cheated on your or because of a breakup leads to a restful sleep that you perhaps otherwise couldn’t enjoy.

We can also cry when we watch a movie or hear a sad song, even if they have no relation to our present situation or the message we interpret from them.

In these cases, there are factors that make us shed tears, such as seeing the protagonists cry or how sad the story is. Alternatively, the movie could have a positive message at the end or if at some point we may be able to compare it with some past situation.

Crying manages our emotions


Like laughing, crying a very important emotional expression and is one of the ways we humans have to communicate. We communicate what happens to us, what we feel and what we think, through tears.

Crying can be therapeutic because it relieves tension and increases empathy with those around us. In addition, we’re more likely to receive help if we cry than if we’re angry, for example.

Solace, relief, and relaxation are other positive consequences of crying.

So crying is a healthy activity, even if we view it negatively and think that it shows weakness.

However, we must know how to distinguish between when we cry to eliminate sadness and when we cry to get something.

  • In the latter case, you become dependent on tears and achieve nothing without them.
  • Unlike crying babies who tell us when they’re hungry, sleepy or require a diaper change by crying,  adults have other ways of communicating and reaching our goals.

Do you want to know more? Read: 6 Eating Habits that Cause Anxiety and depression

Do only women cry?

Finally, it’s worth noting why men and women cry differently. Women do it more often (between 30 and 64 times a year compared to the 17 times men cry) from 13 years old. Up until this age, there are no differences in crying between men and women.

In addition, women cry longer: 6 minutes as opposed to 3 for men.

This is partly because patriarchal heritage and culture compel men to become stronger. Hence, given that crying makes them look weak, they can’t afford to do it in public.

A husband or a father isn’t supposed to cry in our society. Even boys are told that they can’t cry because “that’s what girls do.”


Social issues aside, there is a hormonal question that leads women to cry more and for a longer time. Female emotional expression is closely related to crying.

Therefore, women use this technique as a self-therapy. On the other hand, the inability to express one’s feelings (alexithymia) is more common in men.