Breaking up is hard to do, as they say. Usually they involve a lot of tears, ice cream, and sappy love songs. But usually, there’s just crying – it’s a natural coping mechanism, as it releases tension when intense emotions overpower you.
There are three types of tears: Basal, Reflex, and Psychic tears. Basal is the “basic functional tear” which keeps our eyes moist, while the Reflex tears (aka “irritation tears”) are caused by the environmental stressors like smoke or dust. Psychic tears are those tied to emotions and feelings.
Studies show that emotional crying doesn’t just help you cope – it also makes you lose weight. According to research by the St. Paul Ramsay Medical Center, when you cry, your tears release stress hormones. The combination of two protein-based hormones (prolactin and adrenocorticotropic) and one natural painkiller (encephalin) are produced by the body when it’s under a lot of stress.
Getting rid of the adrenocorticotropic hormone via tears actually reduces the body’s cortisol levels. Cortisol is associated with fat retention in your system – if you have high cortisol levels (which happens when we face chronic stress), you tend to eat more and actually store extra fat around the belly.
So when you cry, you actually lose weight because our body is trying to release all the stressful hormones. In addition, biochemist William Frey found out that stress-induced tears also remove many kinds of toxic substances from the body. This means that weeping actually removes these substances that can build up during times of emotional stress.
Take heed: only tears triggered by real emotions work that way. And if you really need a cry, scientists advise shedding your tears from 7pm-10pm when you’re pretty much done for the day.
As Elsa says, “Let it go!” It’s not just a great way to cope with your stressful situation, it makes you feel better emotionally and physiologically.