Shed the tears, boost your health

Often times we hear people say “be a man”, this expression translates into the fact that crying is a sign of weakness a man who is considered valiant must never exhibit. But how true is this?

Dr Uthman Mubashir, a public health physician at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital has declared the contrary while stating as a matter of fact that crying is extremely beneficial to health.

Mubashir told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Tuesday, that emotional tears have special health benefits for people. “Tears are protective and they lubricate the eyes, remove irritants and reduce stress hormones.” He added that, “tears equally contain antibodies that fight pathogenic microbes.”

When a baby is born, relief fills the air at the shrilling sound of tits cry because it signifies that the child is alive but as people grow up, they tend to stifle their tears, trying to be in control. On the contrary, experts advise that having a good cry can sometimes be the remedy the body needs and they even warn that people may be doing themselves a great deal of disservice by not tearing up regularly.

Mubashir further explained that tears most times decrease the arousal of distress and make people feel better. According to him, reflex tears are 98 per cent water where as emotional tears contain stress hormones which get excreted from the body through crying.

Astonishingly, some cultures have taken crying to the next level. In Japan, there exists crying clubs which are formed solely for tearing. According to the Japan Times, a new social phenomenon, dubbed “rui-katsu” (tear-seeking), is spreading across Japan as adults gather together to watch tear-jerking movies and cry in public as a way of releasing stress.

After attending a rui-katsu session, the Japan Times reported that a 49-year-old male participant confessed to feel so much better. The participant who attested to always being so tense at home and in front of his subordinates at work declared to have entered into a new mental and emotional state.

This was corroborated by Mubashir while stating that emotional tears shed those hormones and other toxins that accumulate in the body during stress.

He explained that crying stimulates the production of endorphins which are known as the body’s own pain killer and have thus gained the epithet, feel good hormones.

“Crying makes us feel better, even when a problem persists. It detoxifies the body and heals the heart,” he said.

Mubashir therefore warned against discouraging people from holding back their tears and bottling up emotions which could trigger stress and other health problems. He announced that though we are in a society where crying is considered a weakness, “the new enlightened paradigm of what constitutes a powerful man and woman is someone who has the strength and self-awareness to cry.”

Little wonder, the great William Shakespeare, several centuries before now admonished men in these words, “Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak, Whispers the over-fraught heart and bids it break.” If you don’t, you may need to cry more often to shield your heart from being broken.

Mubashir shares the same thought with Shakespeare for he reiterated while speaking with NAN that “it is good to cry, it is healthy to cry.” Crying, he pointed out is essential to resolve grief when someone dear is lost. “Tears helps us process the so we can keep living with open hearts. Otherwise, we will be depressed if we suppress these potent feelings.”