Tears can ease tension in men

Crying is, perhaps, natural to living things, especially the higher mammals such as man and some animals.

In the world of humans, any baby that doesn’t cry immediately after birth receives sharp slaps to the bum. In dire situations, newborns have been known to take many slaps all on in the bid to make them cry.
Physicians say crying at birth is the first indication that the newborn is ‘normal,’ before further tests are conducted on its hearing, sight and other vital organs.
On average, women are said to cry 47 times a year, while men cry for a mere seven times within the same period.
Between birth and puberty, experts say, crying levels are much the same for both male and female. And that’s why it becomes confusing when males are made to grow up believing that crying is an evidence of weakness.
Whenever a man tries to display emotions during a tragic situation, it is not uncommon to hear people around admonishing, “Be a man!” Some people will even say it the way it is: “Stop crying like a woman!”
For our excessively paternalistic society, shedding tears is a sign of weakness; and strong men don’t cry.
Yet, physicians are saying that shedding tears actually has healing effects; and that there is nothing unmanly about crying if it brings relief.
The Japanese hold some of the enviable records when it comes to ageing well into the centenary. In addition to their fat-free, fruit-and-vegetable-rich diets, shedding tears seems to play an important role in their longevity.
Sociologists say Japanese believe in the health benefits of crying, such that some cities in Japan now have “rui-katsu,” a sort of crying clubs where people can come together to cry whenever they feel like.
Psychotherapists claim that humans produce one cup of tears per day and 576 cups a year. In other words, shedding tears is as human as it could get and there is nothing womanly or unmanly about it.
Indeed, specialists say tears sometimes flow involuntarily in order to maintain eye health, or it may be for reflex reasons such as when an object hits the eye and the tears flow as a result of the eye’s way of shielding itself.
Scientists say that human beings produce tears as a result of emotional problems. They agree that although emotional tears do contain higher levels of stress, such tears do have the ability to calm down the coloured part of the eyes (the iris) and signal the emotional state to other parts of the body.
A clinical psychologist, Dr. Ayomide Emmanuel, says tears are known to heal.
“When a bereaved person, for instance, cries and sheds tears copiously, it has a way of relieving the heart.
“Compared to someone who bottles up his emotions, the person who cries as a result of emotional trauma or who lets out a cry as a result of pain, is very likely to heal earlier than someone who continually ponders over an issue and refuses to let out steam.
“Crying is known to release stress hormones or toxins from the body, and as a result, it also reduces tension. Tears help us to release stress, sadness, grief, anxiety, and frustration.
“Emotional tears contain stress hormones which get excreted from the body through crying. Emotional tears also contain more mood-regulating manganese,” Emmanuel says.
There’s a scientific basis for this. Emmanuel notes that “several of the chemicals present in emotional crying are the protein prolactin, adrenocorticotropic hormones, and the endorphin leucine-enkephalin, all of which reduce pain.”
He adds, “That’s why you may not be able to fault the acting of crying, even when we think it is not glamorous. Bottling up your tears might even result in headache or high blood pressure!”
Indeed, it is a known fact that when an individual is stressed, he experiences tightening of muscles and heightened tension. Emmanuel says crying enables you to release some of that tension.
Bacteriologists say tears have strong antimicrobial powers. A study published in the journal, Food Microbiology, notes that tears contain the fluid lysozyme, which is also found in human milk, semen, mucus and saliva.
“Lysozyme can kill 90 to 95 percent of all bacteria in just five to 10 minutes,” the journal states. In other words, when you shed tears for whatever reasons, the bacteria that line the path of the tears as they flow might as well bid their host a goodbye.
Psychologists also believe that shedding tears can be an indication to those around you to lend a helping hand.
“Crying can signal a need for help from others and bring people together. People are usually more likely to help someone when they see them dissolve into tears, and it can prompt helpful behaviour,” says American occupational health psychologist, Prof. Gail Kinman.
However, scientists warn that crying at work isn’t expected, as it might be perceived as a sign of weakness or incompetence.
Again, they counsel, too much crying can be a sign of underlying issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, mood disorder or depression.
“An individual that finds him/herself prone to tears all the time should seek medical help,” Emmanuel counsels.
The bottom line: If you feel like crying, do it. Just be mindful of who is watching.

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