Have you ever been so happy that you couldn’t help but cry? It’s a strange and wonderful feeling – like a burst of joy that overwhelms you and spills out in the form of tears. But don’t be ashamed of those tears. In fact, they might be doing you a world of good! Turns out, crying happy tears isn’t just a sign of your emotional state, but it can actually have all sorts of surprising benefits for your mental and physical health. So grab a box of tissues and get ready to discover why crying happy tears is great for your overall health.
One reason why we might cry when we are happy is that tears are a natural way for our bodies to release and express intense emotions. Tears are a physical manifestation of our emotional state, and they can help us communicate our feelings to others. In addition, crying happy tears may also be a way to release tension and stress that has built up in the body. When we experience intense emotions, it can create a sense of physiological arousal in the body, including increased heart rate and breathing. Crying can help to release this tension and restore a sense of calm.
The act of crying, regardless of whether it is secondary to a positive or negative emotion, helps achieve a kind of internal stability or homeostasis. “When we experience intense emotions such as joy, our bodies produce a range of feel-good hormones, including endorphins, oxytocin, and dopamine. These hormones can have a positive impact on our mood and sense of well-being,” says Dr Sachin Baliga, Consultant, Psychiatry, Fortis Hospital, Bengaluru.
We, as humans, commonly resort to consciously (suppress) or unconsciously (repress) hiding our stresses, fears, and anxieties as we go forward in our day-to-day lives due to a variety of reasons. Dr Baliga further explains that shedding happy tears after an important event, be it parents crying at their child’s wedding or a person crying after getting selected after an interview, triggers a release of hidden, unprocessed emotions, like releasing a pressure valve.
Humans are social creatures, and one of the major ways we interact is using non-verbal communication. “Sometimes, particularly when one lacks words, seeing tears in someone’s eyes can show the depth of emotions they are experiencing for you, be it affection, love, gratitude, or joy. It communicates a lot, despite the lack of words,” says Dr Baliga.
Going a step ahead of communication, shedding happy tears helps us connect with each other. When you cry happy tears on seeing or hearing about someone you are close to, it naturally conveys the deeper bond you share. Dr Baliga explains that it is also known that oxytocin, a type of hormone released during happy crying, promotes social bonding. Emotional strength comes from vulnerability.
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Regardless of whether you are a religious person or not, crying happy tears or tears of joy can help you connect with your inner self, devoid of any inhibitions or judgment. Not only is it a sign of emotional intelligence, but it can also be a profoundly moving experience that can develop you spiritually as a person.
In addition to its emotional benefits, crying happy tears can also have physical benefits. Tears contain a range of compounds that can help cleanse our eyes and protect them from infection. Crying can also help regulate our breathing, lowering our heart rate and reducing feelings of anxiety or stress. A study published in ResearchGate notes that crying can help lower blood pressure and pulse rate, which in turn can reduce the risk of heart disease. This is because crying stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps us to relax and recover from stressful situations.
So, the next time you find yourself shedding tears of joy, don’t be afraid to embrace them. Remember that crying happy tears can be a powerful way to release tension, strengthen relationships, and improve both our mental and physical health.