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Why do we cry?

Everyone, at some point in their lives, has cried. Whether you’ve got something in your eye and it starts to water to flush it out, to ‘emotional’ crying when you are triggered by something that makes you feel happy, sad or angry. But why and how do we cry?

There are three types of tears that form the basis of why we cry:

Basal: the tear ducts constantly secrete antibacterial basal tears that help keep the eyes moist whilst blinking. These types of tears are constantly produced.

Reflex:  these are tears triggered by irritants such as dust and wind, and it’s the type of tears that are produced when you are chopping onions. They are released to flush out these irritants and protect the eye.

Emotional: humans shed tears in response to a range of intense emotions. These tears have a different chemical composition from the other types of tears, containing more stress hormones.

There’s evidence to suggest that there’s an established connection between the lacrimal gland (tear duct) and the part of the brain that’s involved with emotion. Crying is believed to be an outlet or response to a burst of emotion, be it joy, sadness or anger.