Crying woman

Why Do We Cry?

Some people cry during commercials, while others only tear up for very sad or happy moments. Sometimes, we even cry randomly. But what’s the reason behind the waterworks? Why do some people cry more than others? Is there any way to control it?

Upset woman cry read text message on smartphone suffer from breakup with boyfriend in tears on couch

Why You Cry

We cry three different types of tears. Each has its own job and flows from your tear ducts for a different reason.

Basal tears.

These tears coat your eyes all day. Blinking helps spread them evenly over the surface of your eyes. They can improve your vision, hydrate your eyes, and sharpen your focus. They protect your eyes and keep out debris. Your tears also transport oxygen and nutrients to the surface of your eyes.

Face of unhappy female in tears from close up in darkness

Irritant tears.

These tears gush out of the glands under your eyebrow when you peel onions, throw up, or get debris in your eyes. They wash your eyes out and flush out irritants to protect you.

Asian beautiful depression girl crying in tears sit on bed in bedroom.

Emotional tears.

These arise from strong emotions. Empathy, compassion, physical pain, attachment pain, and moral and sentimental emotions can trigger these tears. They communicate your emotions to others.

Asian young woman crying depressed in the city.

Why You May Cry for No Reason

Crying can be normal in certain situations. But if you tear up frequently for no reason, it might be a sign of a serious condition.

close up of unhappy crying woman

If you notice that you’re crying every day during normal activities, you may have depression. Other symptoms of depression include:

  • Feeling hopeless, helpless, and sad
  • Loss of interest in day-to-day life
  • Loss of appetite or overeating
  • Poor sleep
  • Excessive feelings of guilt or worthlessness

If you think you have depression, talk to your doctor right away to find the right treatment for you.

Close up of woman with depression

Other causes of uncontrollable tears include pathological laughing and crying, which is a condition that can come with Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, or other brain diseases. Talk to your doctor if you suspect you or a loved one have this condition.

When Others Cry

Woman Crying in Support Group

If someone begins to cry in front of you, your reaction may come from the discomfort you feel in this situation. Though you may not mean to, your response could cause the person who is crying to feel weak, embarrassed, or less understood.

Trying Not to Cry

It’s best not to hold in emotions all the time, but sometimes it’s important to hold back tears. If you need to control a cry, try to hold back your tears just until you’re in a better place for them.


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