l. In your group, make a list of situations in which you or someone you know cried. Share your list with the dass. 2. Freewrite for ten rninutes about how people react to crying in your native culture. 15 ir acceptable to cry? Are there some situations in which lt is more acceptable to cry than others? Share your writing with your group.
It's O.K. to Cry
Tears AreN ot Just a Bid for Attention JaneBrody
[ane Brody has been che "Personal Healch" columnistfor the New York Times since 1965. She has written many books on nutritíon, good food, and health, as well as several cookbooks. The article bdow appeared in tlte N ew York Times.
Crying is hardly an activity encouraged by society. Tears, be they of sorrow, anger or joy, typically make Americans feeluncomfortable and embarrassed. Edmund S. Muskie may well have lost his bid for the 1972 Presidential candidacy when he wept while denouncing a newspaper publisher for printing a letter that insulted his wife. The shedder of tears is likely to apologize, even when a devastating tragedv was the provocation. The observer of tears is likely to do everyrhing possible to put an end to the emotionaloutpouring. But judging fram recent studies of crying behavior, links between illness and crying and the chemical composition of tears, both those responses to .tears are otten inappropriate and may even be counterproductive. People are the only anirnals defmitely known to shed emotional tears. Since evolution has given rise to few if any purposeless physiological responses, it is logical to assume thatcrying has one or more functions that enhance survivaL Although some observers have suggested that crying is a way to elicit assístance from others (asa crying baby might from its mother), the shedding of tears is hardly necessary to gethelp, Vocal críes, whines or whimpers such as animals use would have been quite enough, more Íikely than tears to gain attention. So, it appears, there rnust besomething special about tears themselves.
Indeed, the new studies suggest that emotional tears may playa direct rale in alleviating stress. University of Minnesota researchers who are studving the chernical composition of tears have recently isolated two irnportant chemicals, leucine-enkephalin and prolactin, from emotional tears. The first of these may be an endorphin, one of the body's naturalpain-relieving substances. Both chernícals are found only in tears that are shed in response to ernotion. Tears shed because of exposure to a cut onion would contain no such substance . . . . researchers at several other institutions are investigating the usefulness of tears as a means of diagnosing human ills and monitoring drugs. At Tulane University's tear analysis laboratory Dr. Peter Kasd... and his colleagues report that they can use tears to detect drug abuse and exposure to medication, to determine whether a contact lens fits properly or why it may be uncomfortable, to study the causes of "drv eye" syndrome and the effects of eye surgery, and perhaps even to measure exposure to environrnental pollutants. At Columbia University Dr. Linsy Farris and colleagues are studying tearsfor clues to the diagnosis of diseases away from the eyes. Tears can be obtained painlessly without invading the body and only tiny amounts are needed to perform highly refined analyses. Tears are produced continuously by the tiny lacrimal glands in the upper, outer corners of the eyes, under the lids. Every time you blink (en average 13 times a minute ) your eyelids carry a film of tears across thecorneas .... The windshield-wiper effect of the blink also helps to cleanse the eyes of debris and irritating chernicals and perhaps even to fight infection, since tears contain antibacterial enzyrnes. Tears that do not evaporate leave through the lacrimal canal and sac at . the inner comer of the eye. From there they drain through the nose, which is why you usually nave to blow your nose when...