Scientifically, crying is beneficial because it helps to relieve pain and stuckness in the body—both emotional and physical—as well as enhancing mood by releasing endorphins and oxytocin. Endorphins and oxytocin are chemical messengers in the brain that signal soothing of emotional distress throughout one’s system. The release of these chemical messengers can potentially promote better sleep quality and help relieve stress.
Moreover, according to GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC, a licensed mental health counselor at PsychPoint, crying can help relieve muscle tension and communicate the need for support or personal space to others.
“Crying is a natural behavior for people, and there can be different reasons why a person may cry more than others,” Guarino tells mbg. “Some people are more sensitive and empathic than others, which can make them more inclined to cry. The ability to relate to their emotions and the emotions of others may make a person more likely to shed a tear than the people around them.”
Corrie Fentress, LMFT, a licensed therapist at Connections Wellness Group, adds that if an individual wasn’t able to develop emotional regulation as a child, they can be more susceptible to crying when overwhelmed with strong emotions. “Some people may cry more than others because they are at their emotional breaking point,” she also tells mbg.
Both experts cite mental health concerns, like anxiousness, trauma, and more, as reasons for crying as well. “When people experience chronic stress, anxiety, or depression, they become less tolerant to managing external stressors and more susceptible to feeling overwhelmed by their emotions,” says Fentress. This can lead to emotional or environmental triggers that overwhelm the nervous system and lead to crying.