Did you know humans are the only animals that cry in reaction to emotion? Whether brought on by happiness, sadness, surprise, overwhelm, fear, frustration, or onions, from the moment we enter the world, crying is a part of our life. But why do we do it?

Is there an evolutionary advantage to this reaction? Why do people cry for so many reasons? Do people cry more or less depending on where they live? Could it really be therapeutic? And how does all this weeping affect the people who don’t seem to cry at all?

Whew—there’s a lot to talk about, and we’ve got just the guides to get you through this. So hold on to your hanky—things are about to get a little emotional.

Image: Woman laughing and wiping her eyes

Source: Quinn Dombrowski // Flickr

Why do we cry?

That’s what Joss Fong, the producer of the video we’re featuring, had been wondering for a while. So to try to gather some insight on this mysterious reaction, she tracked every time she cried for 3 years on a spreadsheet—marking exactly what seemed to bring on her tears.

But obviously, that wasn’t enough. Sure, she can now see what tends to trigger her own waterworks, but what about everyone else? And why does she have that reaction to specific moments?

Joss brings us deeper into the world of our tears to discover why we evolved this reaction and where in our bodies these little droplets come from! Here she is with a team of experts from multiple areas to walk us through the ins and outs of our tears in this video from Vox’s awesome series, Glad You Asked:

Via: Vox 1

Vox is a remarkable publication bringing journalism to a new level. You can explore more of their series, Glad You Asked by clicking here. They bring us deep into questions like, how does the internet work? Will we survive Mars? And why do memes matter?

Make sure you subscribe to their channel to stay up to date with their content and browse more of the amazing stories they’ve brought us! You can also find them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Isn’t it fun to learn why we do the things we do?

Even with such a random, practically unpredictable reaction as crying, learning how our bodies work can help us understand ourselves and each other a bit better. Because, even if everything else about us may seem different, we’re nothing more than humans with the tendency to feel a lot, scrunch our faces, have tears overflow from our eyes and a lot of snot come out of our noses.

I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty amazing.

This outward expression of emotion allows us to connect to one another in a way that’s unique in nature.

Whether we’re experiencing a moment of awe with the person next to us, expressing vulnerability with someone near and dear to our hearts, when we see tears we know there’s something deeper taking place.

So, when’s the last time you cried?

5 minutes ago? Yesterday? Last week? Last month? Year? That’s one of the really interesting parts about this bodily reaction: it manifests in each of us differently!

For a glimpse at the variety, the channel Cut decided to ask 100 people when the last time they cried was. It’s a beautiful, intimate view of the human experience. And you may just find yourself relating to a few people here. Take a look!

Via: Cut 2

Cut is one of my personal all-time-favorite channels out there right now. They give such an intimate look at so many different lives, really exploring our humanity in a way I haven’t seen before. I highly suggest getting lost in some of their videos over on YouTube (and subscribing). A word of caution—not all of their content is for children.

You can also give them a follow on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to stay up to date with their work!

If you need a nice cry, the videos in these articles got me real good in the best way:

10 minutes

Denali: A Dog’s Perspective on Life and Death

There are some lovely stories on the web about the love and friendship, but few from a dog's perspective. Take a few minutes to soak this in.

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15 minutes

Traveling Back in Time through a Father’s Eyes

What places matter to you most? When was the last time you visited them? This father and son story gives us a few tips on how to navigate some of life's transitions by sharing the places that are most important to who we are.

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23 minutes

The Choir That’s Leading the Way to a Better World

Have you had a "goose-bump moment" yet today? Here's your best chance! From South Africa to the stage of America's Got Talent, the Ndlovu Youth Choir is sharing their dynamic performances and uplifting stories with the world.

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16 minutes

The People Who Could Be the Unsuspecting Heroes in Our Journey!

Jonathan Gravenor discovered some unlikely "teachers" as he went from traveling the world as a successful journalist to struggling through chemo alone, and they changed his life. He shares a few of the lesson he learned in this great TED Talk!

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Stay open to new possibilities! You never know what might hit ya’ right in the feels next—but hey, who knows, maybe this time you’ll at least see it coming.

  • Sam

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” —Albert Einstein

Want to discover something new about the world?

Explore our science category to discover more about how this planet of ours works—including our own bodies!Science on EWC!

Notes:

  1. Vox. “Why Do We Cry? – Glad You Asked S1.” YouTube, 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XOo1OJFAeQ&feature=emb_title. Accessed 6 Feb. 2020.
  2. Cut. “When’s the Last Time You Cried? | Keep It 100 | Cut.” YouTube, 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbNU_r45LAE&feature=emb_title. Accessed 6 Feb. 2020.

Sam Burns

Editor in Chief

Sam has written and edited hundreds of articles since joining the EWC team in 2016. She writes about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the EWC office, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and procurer of cheeses.