|David Zuniga, PhD, Austin Psychologist
As Dolly Parton’s character Truvy observed in the movie Steel Magnolias: “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.” Sometimes by being present to the sad things we can be more present to the joyful things as well. Crying can often be a skillful way to let one’s emotions out; if we keep those emotions inside too long it can have powerful adverse consequences. Tears can be healing. Researchers have determined that emotional tears contain proteins such as prolactin, which is also associated with reproductive health and breast milk production. It takes courage to share one’s emotions, and it can take courage to cry, to be vulnerable with another. Interestingly, humans are the only species that cry for emotional reasons. Some researchers believe crying exists as a bonding and communication method. Other scientists argue that crying represents a physiological response to a marked emotional shift, and that tears result because of the parasympathetic system after a fight or flight response. Crying is an important human experience, to learn more you can read this article.