Why Do We Cry?
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Why Do We Cry?

Ever wondered why we cry? The first thing that might come to mind is pain or hurt. We cry when we've been hurt either physically or emotionally; whether it's a knock to the forehead or a knock to the heart. But that's not the what I'm referring to on this occasion, what I'm talking about is what happens on the inside, all the biochemical reactions and what not that occurs. How does our body produce that salty fluid that leak from the corner our eyes.

Tears, much like a smile is a universal language, nonetheless, it's meaning varies with circumstances and situations. People cry when they're sad but they also cry when they laugh really hard, or sometimes your eye simply leaks a bit. It's strange how our body react to completely different emotions in the same way.

There are three types of tears that are generated by the human eye. Basal tears protect the eye and keep it moist. Reflex tears flush out the eye when it becomes irritated. And emotional tears flow in response to feelings of sadness, distress, physical pain or any extreme emotion (dwl for example) . For this article, I'll be focusing on the emotional tears.

Well let's get down to it. The basic composition of tears are the same, they are a combination of water, proteins, minerals, hormones, antibodies and enzymes (sounds nutritious), yet there are minor chemical changes in tears depending on why they develop . Emotional tears for instance, contain more hormones, such as prolactin, ACTH and enkephalin. Nevertheless, all tears have three layers: An outermost, oily layer that acts as a sealant to keep tears from evaporating; a middle, aqueous layer that carries vitamins and minerals (including salt, hence the salty flavor of tears) to the cornea and an innermost, mucous layer that helps the tear coat and moisturize the eyes.

The production of tears is essentially semi-automatic. The lacrimal glands (tear glands) routinely produce a small amount of liquid in order to keep the eyes lubricated and free of irritants.When the brain senses a need for tears, the glands excrete the lacrimal fluid into the upper eyelid area. Gravity or capillary action draws this fluid onto the eye's surface and when the duct becomes overwhelmed or blocked, the excess spill tears out of the lower eye and down our cheeks. The lacrimal duct drains into the nasolacrimal duct (the tear duct), where the tears may either drain into the throat or nasal passages (which explains the sniffling)

This semi-automatic simulation produces epiphora (overflow of tears) by: increasing tear production by the tear gland or tears can also be induced via strong emotional responses (mediated by the limbic system, especially the hypothalamus) which produce psychic tears (crying or weeping). Strong tear stimulation is accompanied by other symptoms, like reddening of the face and convulsive breathing.

So that pretty much covers the basics of why we cry. But I've found that there's a lot more to tears than meets the eye. The fact that different tears (like tears of joy or sadness) have different patterns for instance or the many benefits of tears. It's worth a look, so I say cry on friends, and let the tears flow.


Street Talk

wow the best article so far .

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Thank you Danna :)

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Jehnelle, great article...I never thought you could make a subject like crying and tears so engaging and even moving. BTW, I always wanted to meet a YJL in the flesh, so to speak... I know why you used the acronym; you want to know who has read your bio...smart!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Thank you :), I'm glad you liked it

Reply
  about 7 years ago
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