Crying is the dropping of tears (or welling of tears in the eyes) in response to an emotional state, or pain. Emotions that can lead to crying include sadness, anger, and even happiness. A related medical term is lacrimation, which also refers to non-emotional shedding of tears. Various forms of crying are known as sobbing, weeping, wailing, whimpering, bawling, and blubbering. Basically everyone has cried at several points in their lives, from incessant cries for food and attention as an infant; crying and throwing tantrums as a toddler; to crying due to a range of several emotions and sensations including pain.
Several factors play a role in an individual’s propensity to cry. Gender differences in crying, for example, have been explored for decades and across the world, and all of the studies reached the same conclusion: Women cry more than men.
According to the American Psychological Association, early researches in the 1980s found that women cry an average of 5.3 times a month, while men cry an average of 1.3 times per month, with crying defined as anything from moist eyes to full-on sobbing. They noted that those averages still appear to be about the same and unchanged even in newer research done about 31 years later in 2011.
Why do women cry more than men?
Women may cry more than men due to biology, culture, and environment.
Biologically, emotional tears have been found to be high in prolactin. Prolactin which is a hormone found more in women has been proposed to promote crying. Conversely, testosterone, a hormone found more in men has been proposed to inhibit crying, as men who were on medications that reduce the testosterone levels were reported to cry more than normal men.
Culture and environment also play a role in crying as a published study by the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research reported that in wealthier countries that allow greater freedom of expression and social resources both men and women cry more because they live in a culture that permits it, while people in poorer countries who should have more to cry about don’t do so because of cultural norms that frown on emotional expression, especially for men.
A doctoral thesis on differences in adult crying by a psychologist, Carrie Lane found that females may cry more as an evolutionary adaptation to the need for survival. It stated that conflict resolution was reported more when the female cried at the end of a conflict suggesting that crying is signaling a need for attention or support, and conflict escalation was reported more in the condition where the female does not cry. This suggests that when there is no signal for need, the conflict is more likely to end in escalation. It also reported that crying helps to asserts the females’ need for social networks to aid in survival.
What are the benefits of crying?
According to the Harvard University, crying has a lot of positive health effects. It has been described as an important safety valve against a phenomenon called repressive coping or ‘bottling up’ in laymen’s terms. A meta-analysis study has reported a significant relationship between repressive coping, less resilient immune system, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension.
Crying has also been shown to increase attachment behavior, encouraging closeness, empathy, and support from friends and family.
The report from Harvard University goes on to state that there are three types of tears: reflex tears, continuous tears, and emotional tears. The first two types contain 98% water and remove debris and lubricate the eyes, preventing them from infection. The emotional tears (which flush stress hormones and other toxins out of the system), potentially offers the most health benefits as it has been established that crying releases oxytocin and endogenous opioids, also known as endorphins. These feel-good chemicals help ease both physical and emotional pain.
Other benefits of crying include the self-soothing effect, support from others, mood enhancing, stress relief, and sleep inducing effect.
Does crying make your boobs smaller?
Despite the many benefits of crying, it does not make the breasts or boobs smaller. In fact, it has no direct relationship with the size of the breasts. women with smaller breasts can however be more prone to breast size dissatisfaction and body image issues. This may lead to more episodes of low moods or depression which crying can be inclusive of.
What are the benefits of small breasts?
Despite the social media hype about big breasts, smaller breasts have some advantages. They include:
- Less stress looking for a fitting brassiere to size.
- Less/No shoulder pain and backache due to large breasts
- Wide choice of clothes without having fitting issues unlike women with big breasts.
- Reduced unwanted bounces that come with exercising and physical activities and one can run, without creating unwanted attention.
- Move without (maybe less than that of other women) worrying in crowded areas and
- Easier to do a self-breast examination
Even though crying is natural and beneficial for the health, small boobs is not a reason to cry, and it also has some pros that will certainly make such women smile!