Cry Me A River


Certainly we all have different stimuli that trigger tears in our life, for example I may cry (and do cry) by watching Titanic while another person next to me is dry eyed the whole time. While we're all capable of crying, we all cry at different things. More than that we're the only species that can cry past childhood.


One theory as to why we cry is called the aquatic ape theory and is evolutionary in nature. It says that we cry because it signals to other animals that we are non-threatening, which may have prevented us from being killed as primates.  However,  I happen to disagree with this theory, because there are many instances where animals kill other vulnerable animals in the wild. More than that, I do not believe that a lion would stop attacking a human because he or she started to cry. This theory does not exactly fit with the survival of the fittest idea.


Of course there's the theory that we cry to clean our eyes, which I'm sure we have all experienced. Whether we have something in our eye, or it just hurts, the tears do certainly rid the eye of the stimulus. Still, this doesn't explain why we cry when we're sad or happy.


One theory is that tears are a universal signal to others that we need help. When we see other humans crying, we have a natural tendency to want to comfort them, which could have helped us survive before language was developed. More than that, tears also signal to ourselves that there is a problem we need to address, and even if we temporarily suppress the tears, we still have a situation to deal with.  This does seem to make sense, since others helping us if we cried could definitely have helped our species survive, and also crying usually does occur when there is a problem that needs addressed.


However, there is also the idea that crying is a healthy release of emotion. In a study of 200 Dutch women, most of them said that they felt better after they cried, with the exception of those suffering from depression or anxiety.  This theory seems to make the most sense to me, because I know that after I cry I always feel better after, like I needed to release all of my emotions, especially when the tears come from stress.


The true cause of crying is probably some combination of the aforementioned theories, but regardless of why we cry, it generally seems to be a healthy activity for humans to do.




I could see where the aquatic ape theory is coming from. Maybe it was more for animals of the same species. If two males were fighting over a female and one of the males realizes that he is not going to win, maybe he would cry to signal that he is done fighting. I also strongly believe that we cry to relieve stress. It is believed that woman live longer because they cry more often which relieves stress for them. Here is an article that lists seven benefits of crying and they all go along with why we are supposed to cry. They also state that tears kill bacteria which I think is very interesting and could be another reason as to why we cry.

On the Huffington Post website there is a video that explains that there are three different types of tears: Basal tears (always present in the eye to keep it from drying out), reflex tears (automatically fill our eyes in response to smoke, chopped onions, or irritation), and emotional tears (caused by emotions and physical pain).
Emotional tears have a higher content of protein and stress hormones.
Like you said, tears can be an indicator to other humans that we are in pain or need help and this could have been useful before humans developed language.

I am the type of person that cries at everything which sometimes isn't a good thing. I am a big fan of movies and no matter the movie genre or story line there is always something in them that I can find to cry about. I 100% agree with the study of crying makes you feel better. Whenever I am done being the cry baby I am I always feel so much better and less stressed as well. Here's an article that talks about why its good to cry
I also and a contact wearer so when I do cry it makes my contacts feel so much better since I'm flushing out any things that may be stuck in my eye!

Crying is definitely a strange thing. There are so many different factors that can cause someone to cry and then on a different note there are so many different types of tears. There is a youtube video, , which talks all about why we cry and the differences between different types of tears. In this video it even talks about how in one type of emotion based contains a hormone linked to high stress level and although a full study has yet to be conducted it is believed that crying helps relieve these stress levels.

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