Although crying is often associated with an emotionally difficult event, crying actually has physical, psychological, and social benefits.
"Crying can help manage emotional stress and strengthen relationships by providing healthy and safe responses to healthy outcomes or situations," said Michael Chen, M.D., physician and district doctor at One Medical. "Crying can improve mood by improving sleep, reducing inflammation, and strengthening the immune system."
In addition, research has shown that crying releases certain hormones such as oxytocin and endorphins in the body that help relieve physical and psychological pain while reducing other stress-related hormones such as adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH).
"The first thing a child does when they come into the world is cry, and it's a good thing," Mary Joye, LMHC, told mbg. "Babies have this innate reflex to ensure that their immediate needs are attended to. They have no other vocabulary than crying, and if no one comes they can develop learned helplessness."
According to Joye, if the baby stops crying, it may sound like it is calming itself down, but it may give up hope. This is one of several main reasons the inability to cry can lead into adulthood and cause emotional distress.
"We tend to find that holding back your emotions and limiting your ability to cry can lead to negative outcomes such as chronic depression, anxiety, and difficult relationships," added Chen.