Some people stay strong in certain stressful situations, while for others they are prone to crying easily. If we are part of the latter group, we may wonder why we are easy to tear.
In general, there is no right or wrong amount of crying. In fact, shedding a few tears can be a good thing: When we cry, the body releases feel-good hormones that actually help us feel better. Crying can be very therapeutic. Some people say that after a good cry they are better able to deal with a problem and then move on.
There are several different factors that can affect how often we start sobbing. These are some of the most common.
Some personality types seem more likely to cry easily than others. People who are highly empathic (also known as highly sensitive people) tend to cry more often. Those with a tendency toward neuroticism , who are often anxious or filled with self-doubt, are also more likely to be whiners.
Biological differences in brain structure and physiology can affect your personality and emotional sensitivity, which could lead to more tears. Neuroscientists aren’t sure about the neuroanatomy behind crying, but they do know that it involves the limbic system . Just as people who are more anxious have differences in the sensitivity of their amygdala, differences in crying are also related to genetic differences in the sensitivity of the limbic system.
And some people just have more sensitive personalities than others. Between 15 and 20% of the population have this personality trait. A highly sensitive person is more sensitive to the environment and the feelings of other people.
past and present experiences
Our childhood can have a big influence on how often we cry. Growing up in a home where crying or talking about feelings was forbidden, for example, might actually make us more likely to cry easily as adults. Emotions may manifest as tears more often because you may not have the vocabulary to express sadness or frustration.
Frequent or unexpected crying can also occur if we feel like we are carrying a lot of emotional baggage from past situations. If we have a history of trauma with doctors, it is possible to cry easily after going to a consultation.
Certain cultures encourage more freedom of expression than others. Some research shows that people in richer countries tend to cry more often because their culture accepts it. On the other hand, those living in poorer countries stay more subscribed because they are more likely to be discouraged from showing emotion.
Throughout life, learned experiences become learned associations. If we associate certain moments, songs or movies, with sadness or crying, the body registers it, which makes it more likely that we will cry during those things.
Women cry between two and four times more than men. It’s more socially acceptable for women to cry, so they don’t feel like they need to mask their emotions as much. Some experts theorize that women may also cry more often because they are more likely to experience interpersonal trauma or feelings of depression.
Hormones also play an important role. The male hormone testosterone appears to inhibit crying, while higher levels of the hormone prolactin, found in women, tend to activate waterworks.
Then there are the significant hormonal changes that come with things like PMS or pregnancy.
Stress and anxiety level
Some people get angry at the slightest problem when they are unusually stressed or exhausted. Others will start crying over things that wouldn’t normally be a big deal, like accidentally dropping a glass or plate or realizing they forgot to buy coffee filters.
What happens is that the baseline is altered. If we have stress, when something happens, even if we are children, we can make the emotions stronger, faster and harder.
On the other hand, anxiety disorder is coupled with excessive worry, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and crying easily. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health illness, affecting more than 18% of the population. If we suspect that we have excessive feelings of anxiety, it is recommended to go to a professional.
Depression is a mood disorder marked by persistent feelings of sadness or numbness that can lead to crying easily.
If we have had a change in the amount of crying and we are consistent with the mood, we should think about depression. Signs of depression include feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness, loss of interest, sleep disturbances, and fatigue.
How to stop crying?
Crying can be a healthy response to a wide range of situations. But it can be helpful to know how to hold back tears when we’d rather not be seen sobbing (at work, for example, or when we’re angry and in the middle of an argument with our partner).
When we feel like we’re starting to drown, we’ll focus on what’s going on around us instead of what’s going on inside our head. We’ll look around and think of five things we can hear, four things we can see, three things we can touch, two things we can smell, and one thing we can taste.
If we’re giving an emotional speech or speaking at a funeral, preparing ahead of time can also help. We will practice what we are going to say out loud in front of a mirror so that we are mentally prepared to talk about it. We’ll take slow, deep breaths when it’s time to speak.
There is also something that works very well, which is to concentrate on controlling our breathing . We will consciously try to take deep breaths and exhale slowly. This can help us feel calmer, reduce overall feelings of stress, and decrease the chances of starting (or continuing) crying.
Can you cry without tears?
There are people who can cry easily and without tears, and be sad or repentant without crying. The question is whether we can tell if people are faking sadness and crying.
Science has shown that people can tell the difference between fake and genuine emotions, including crying and tears. People implicitly do so when evaluating the trustworthiness of others. But there are many differences in how well people can make such judgments; and even when people make such judgments, they may not know exactly how they do it.
Science has indicated that people who feign remorse, sadness, or tears generally express a greater range of emotions than those who actually experience those symptoms of sadness. Those that are genuine usually express only that emotion and a neutral state, while fake ones usually express other emotions as well, even happiness.
Also, fakers tend to be hesitant to speak. Therefore, fakers usually display a volatile mix of deliberate and faked expressions combined with genuine emotional flight.