Posted on Jul 24, 2019, 2 p.m.
The University of Queensland has conducted a study investigating the hypothesis that emotional crying facilitates coping and recovery through physiological changes that occur during crying; findings suggest crying may actually be good for your health.
Holding back your tears may actually be detrimental to your health when it comes to crying. According to the researchers a good cry can help you to feel less stressed as you release into those tissues.
197 women watched emotional or neutral videos for 17 minutes after sitting in a neutral baseline period for 5 minutes, then they performed the Cold Pressor Stress Test which involved placing their hands in cold water to see who could last the longest. Respiration and heart rate were recorded continuously, and salivary samples were taken at 4 points to measure cortisol levels.
There were no differences between the groups in time withstanding the stressor or cortisol changes, but women who had cried watching the videos were found to have had more controlled breathing rates than those who did not cry. The women who cried also had lower heart rates right before crying, suggesting that crying regulates physiology in generally maintaining biological homeostasis perhaps through self soothing via purposeful breathing and unconsciously regulating the heart rate.
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