By Therese Borchar, DivineCaroline
New York Times reporter Benedict Carey referred to tears in a recent piece as “emotional perspiration.” Given that I sweat a lot and hate deodorant, I suppose it makes sense that I weep often. But I’m not going to apologize for that, because after a good cry, I always feel cleansed, like my heart and mind just rubbed each other’s backs in a warm bath.
In his intriguing article, “The Miracle of Tears,” in which I found some of the research for this post, author Jerry Bergman writes: “Tears are just one of many miracles which work so well that we take them for granted every day.”
Here, then, are seven ways tears and the phenomenon we call “crying” heal us physiologically, psychologically, and spiritually.
1. Tears Help Us See
The most basic function of tears is that they enable us to see. Literally. Tears not only lubricate our eyeballs and eyelids, they also prevent dehydration of our various mucous membranes. No lubrication, no eyesight. Writes Jerry Bergman: “Without tears, life would be drastically different for humans–in the short run enormously uncomfortable, and in the long run eyesight would be blocked out altogether.”
2. Tears Kill Bacteria
No need for Clorox wipes. We’ve got tears! Our own antibacterial and antiviral agent working for us, fighting off all the germs we pick up on community computers, shopping carts, public sinks, and all those places the nasty little guys make their homes and procreate.
Tears contain lysozyme, a fluid that the germ-a-phobe dreams about in her sleep, because it can kill 90 to 95 percent of all bacteria in just five to ten minutes! This translates, I’m guessing, to three months’ worth of colds and stomach viruses.