Crying is communication
Crying is a natural process, but many people are ashamed of it. For example, we cry when we are sad or in pain - but also out of joy. Why we cry is explained by psychotherapist Johanna Thünker and professor of ophthalmology Horst Helbig.
Everyone cries - some more, some less. There are many reasons for this, both cultural and psychological. A problem is that tears are flowing or missing, but only sometimes.
Crying is the first thing a person does
When a person comes into the world, he usually does one thing first: cry. How tears are dealt with changes in the course of life. While some people are built close to the water, others almost never cry. Why is that so? And why does a person cry at all?
Reasons for emotional crying
"Emotional crying has two functions: dealing with feelings and communicating with others," says psychotherapist Thünker. “Strong negative feelings need a valve. It can be crying, but it can also be the concrete solution to a problem. ”If you don't use either of these two valves, you can experience physical symptoms due to the build-up of emotions - nausea, abdominal pain or headache, for example.
Crying throughout life
Babies already use crying to communicate with caregivers: in the first two years of life, children cry an average of 30 to 120 minutes a day. "However, the motivation behind it can change from the age of two," adds Professor Horst Helbig. He is the director of the Ophthalmology Clinic at the Regensburg University Hospital and spokesman for the German Ophthalmological Society (DOG). "Babies crying in the first year of life from real needs can instrumentalize crying from the age of two."
Another change occurs around the age of 13: from then on, researchers observe gender-specific differences in crying. "According to psychological studies, women are often said to cry from suppressed aggression, men from empathy or through a loss," said Helbig. While women cry an average of 30 to 64 times a year for about six minutes, men only do this about 6 to 17 times a year, and only for two to four minutes.
"The reason for this has not yet been sufficiently researched," says Helbig. “However, there are studies that show that testosterone inhibits tears. Conversely, crying is often a symptom of premenstrual syndrome. "
Germans cry less
In addition, social factors would strongly influence crying. According to Thünker, whether someone is built close to water depends on their upbringing and cultural or social conventions: in Germany, for example, crying takes place more privately.
In other cultures, on the other hand, it was normal to cry, sob and complain in public in the event of bereavement. There are studies showing that English, Swedes and Germans cry less than people from Mediterranean countries.
Culture changed the way we deal with wine
Over time, the attitude towards crying has changed a lot: "In ancient times and in the phase of storm and stress, crying was considered to be beautiful and genuine," explains Helbig. "Only through the idealization of reason was crying seen as a sign of uncontrollable emotions and thus devalued as weakness."
While strong emotions and crying were also taken for granted in men in earlier eras, today it is seen as irrational and weak.
Personality affects crying
When it comes to the question of how easily a person cries, their personality also plays a role: “Basically there are emotional people and people who find it difficult to access their feelings. The former experience emotions more intensely and therefore cry more often, ”says Thünker. In addition, it is also crucial how introverted or extravagant a person is - how strong is his need to convey feelings to the outside world and to share them with others.
And are there people who cry too quickly? Or too little? Especially in times of shock after a severe loss or depression, those affected sometimes want to cry, but cannot. «It can be very painful. It can help to put yourself in the right mood emotionally through films or music, ”explains Thünker.
Conversely, it can also be a burden to people if they cry all the time. You could learn to regulate your emotions better and calm yourself down. "Neither is wrong or wrong," says Thünker. "It always depends on whether those affected suffer from it." (Vb; source: Sophia Reddig, dpa)