I’ve always thought that tears are really interesting, but due to the amount of tears that I have been experiencing lately, I’ve been giving them some extra consideration. I mean really, though… tears are a physical reaction to a strong emotion. Kind of weird, right? I never really understood why that happened. So in my recent interest in why I’m an emotional wreck, I looked into it. And here’s what I learned (via a source that my college professors may or may not have found credible):
There are different kinds of tears – three, to be exact. And one of those kinds of tears is “emotional tears.” Unlike other tears, which form to get crap out of your eyes and stuff, emotional tears serve a different purpose. Emotional tears contain an elevated amount of protein… like 25% more protein than the other types of tears. These proteins are the kind that build up to very high levels in the body when it withstands emotional stress. So, when you build up these proteins, your body will produce tears – oftentimes without your permission – as a way to reduce these protein levels. Which is good, because if they don’t leave the body, they can build up to toxic levels and weaken the body’s immune system and other biological processes. I guess this also explains why you feel better after a good cry – because it reduces your levels of stress hormones. Typically, bursting into tears at what feels like inopportune moments is actually healthy, so embrace it… even if it makes your face look completely ridiculous and swollen the next morning.
Oh, and just as another fun fact, women have 60% more of a stress hormone called prolactin, which plays a role in forming tears. And they also have structurally larger tear glands than men. So, at the end of the day, women are biologically just more prone to crying than men are. On the other hand, men have buildups of other stress hormones, not associated with tears… so men might deal with stress by sweating more or peeing more, which also result in removing toxins from the body.
Moral of the story, I’m not that crazy and neither are you. I feel like that’s always kind of refreshing to realize.
Moral of the story #2: Every time I learn something about how the body functions, I’m moved to glorify God, because SERIOUSLY?! … He is in charge of this design. It’s intricate and complicated and just flat out amazing.
“Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” –Psalm 30:5
“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.” –Luke 6:21
“He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.” –Isaiah 25:8