Creation & science: The benefits of crying

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For those of you who know me, I can get really emotional (a.k.a cry) over some of the smallest things–an unexpected note, a heart-felt word of encouragement, someone going through something, or just in response to God’s goodness and mercy–especially during/after prayer, praise and worship. I was talking to my amazing sister and friend Nekesha after a wonderful service at church where God really moved on my heart through tears almost throughout the entire service!  Nekesha mentioned she had done some research on crying and how cathartic it is for us. So, I thought it’d be interesting to see why God made our eyes to cry like they do.

According to an article in Medical News Today.com we have three types of tears:

Basal tears are omnipresent in our eyes. These constant tears are what keep our eyes from drying out completely. The human body produces an average of 5 to 10 ounces of basal tears each day. They drain through the nasal cavity, which is the reason so many of us develop runny noses after a good cry.

The second type is reflex tears, which serve to protect the human eye from harsh irritants such as smoke, onions or even a very strong, dusty wind. To accomplish this feat, the sensory nerves in your cornea communicate this irritation to your brain stem, which in turn sends hormones to the glands in the eyelids. These hormones cause the eyes to produce tears, effectively ridding them of the irritating substance.

The third type of tears is emotional tears. It all starts in the cerebrum where a strong emotion such as stress, pleasure, anger,  gratefulness, sadness and suffering or physical pain is registered. The endocrine system is then triggered to release hormones to the ocular area, which then causes tears to form.

Emotional crying is mostly attributed to babies/children, women, and “weak people”(whatever that means), but because God is so amazing, He MADE us the ability to cry for specific reasons. To start, crying can help you regulate your emotions, reduce your distress and rally support from others. In addition, research says that crying:

Helps to relieve pain

Research has foundTrusted Source that in addition to being self-soothing, shedding emotional tears releases oxytocin and endorphins.

These chemicals make people feel good and may also ease both physical and emotional pain. In this way, crying can help reduce pain and promote a sense of well-being.

Enhances mood

Crying may help lift people’s spirits and make them feel better. As well as relieving pain, oxytocin and endorphins can help improve mood. This is why they are often known as “feel good” chemicals.

Releases toxins and relieves stress

When humans cry in response to stress, their tears contain a number of stress hormones and other chemicals.

Researchers believe that crying could reduce the levels of these chemicals in the body, which could, in turn, reduce stress. More research is needed into this area, however, to confirm this.

Aids sleep

A small study in 2015 found that crying can help babies sleep better. Whether crying has the same sleep-enhancing effect on adults is yet to be researched.

However, it follows that the calming, mood-enhancing, and pain-relieving effects of crying above may help a person fall asleep more easily.

 Fights bacteria

Crying helps to kill bacteria and keep the eyes clean as tears contain a fluid called lysozyme.

A 2011 studyTrusted Source found that lysozyme had such powerful antimicrobial properties that it could even help to reduce risks presented by bioterror agents, such as anthrax.

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319631.php#benefits-of-crying

So, in looking at this list, BCUFam, I’m thinking if I continuously suppress my urge to cry, then I add to my body’s stress levels which in turn harbors sickness, pain, multiplies toxins, and hosts bacteria in my cells–that can’t be good for our bodies and minds at all! Even our Lord and Savior Jesus wept! (See John 11:1-45 and Luke 19:41-44). Let’s see what else the Bible says about crying.

Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book? When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me (Psalm 56:8-9). This poetic language reminds us that God does not forget our tears at all and will save us from our enemy! What a blessed assurance!

The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles (Psalm 37:17).  Here we are assured that God hears our cry and will deliver us. Hallelujah!

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-27). Sometimes, we cry outwardly and inwardly (groan). Often, we do not understand why, but the Spirit does and advocates on our behalf. Praise our God!

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful (Revelation 21:4-5). Can you imagine God actually wiping away our tears? Ohh— this is something to look forward to, BCUFam! 

The wrap up? As the book of Revelation promises, there will be a day where there will be no more tears. Until then, God in His infinite wisdom, made our tears to be like an internal pressure valve to release the tension and cares of this life, so that we can continue to run on and live for Him. So, ignore the stigma and negative connotations that the world has assigned to crying, let the tears flow and the healing begin! Amen?! Amen!

What are thoughts on our topic du jour, BCUFam? Does crying come easily for you? Is it a struggle? What do you think about the science behind the tears? Let’s continue our conversation in the comments section below!

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Love,

BCU