Why we cry Humans most likely cry to solicit help and comfort, and sometimes to ward off aggression from others (female tears can stop men from being mean). It has these functions in helpless, dependent babies, and we have little reason to assume that this trait changes as people get older.
Why it feels good It’s possible that there is some physiological benefit to crying, such as stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system, which is important for relaxation. Shedding tears may also release opioids, natural chemicals that affect our feelings of pleasure, and oxytocin, a hormone linked to bonding, feelings of trust and stress reduction. The largest benefit, however, comes not from crying itself but from the comfort and support others offer in reaction to our tears. All of that said, occasionally controlling your tears isn’t likely to harm your health. But continually suppressing emotions can sap your body of energy and potentially cause physical symptoms.
Why women cry more First, the male sex hormone testosterone seems to inhibit crying, while the female hormone prolactin may lower the emotional threshold. Plus, women may be exposed to more emotionally charged situations, such as caregiving, and tend to be more empathetic. Finally, men are often expected to control their tears.
Tears of joy—a myth? Some experts doubt whether we ever cry for positive reasons. Very often, during a happy moment we allow ourselves to reflect on less joyful times. For example, during a reunion, we may actually cry for all the time that we missed each other. And while getting married is often a positive event, at the same time it is the end of a certain phase in life and this could cause tears of sadness. Another theory is that very positive emotions may also evoke a kind of helplessness. You are simply at a loss as to how to express your extreme joy. This inability to adequately convey your feelings might result in tears. — Ad Vingerhoets, Ph.D., clinical professor of clinical psychology at Tilburg University in The Netherlands
Posts Tagged ‘meditation’
If you get side stitches when you work out, your breathing muscles may not be as in shape as the rest of you body. Exercise can help to train the respiratory muscles over time, but you can also increase breath control without working up a sweat, says Thomas Vanhecke, MD, a cardiologist at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan.
“Although sighs are often regarded as a sign of boredom or tiredness, they also offer a significant benefit for respiratory mechanics,” says Vanhecke. A sigh is defined as a breath three times larger than a normal breath. You probably already sigh ten to twelve times an hour, but increasing this amount may help strengthen your breath. If you’d rather have an official routine, follow a guided meditation that emphasizes sigh-like deep breathing. Or, simply focus on taking long and controlled inhales and exhales. Start by breathing in for a count of four and out for a count of four, moving up to six then and eight and so on.