Maybe you’ve just walked your daughter down the aisle at her wedding…or you’ve had a particularly rough week at work…or recently had a heated argument with your spouse.

Any of these scenarios might cause you to soak a few tissues. The average American woman cries four or five times a month…and the average man at least once. But crying can do a lot more for you than just express emotion.

When you cry, complex reactions involving your brain and nervous system occur, providing a variety of benefits. A good cry can…

• Boost mood. In my research published in Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, the majority of participants reported an improvement in their mental and physical state after crying. Possible reasons why: Crying is self-soothing—it helps the individual acknowledge deep feelings and highlight what’s important to him/her.

Source: Lauren M. Bylsma, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and psychology, Pittsburg School of Medicine. Professor Bylsma has conducted numerous studies on how crying affects our health.

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