Recently, I’ve been a bit short tempered and snappy. Prone to watering eyes at the oddest of occaisions. Thinking enough is enough!

enough is enough
Lviv, Ukraine Photo by Darya Tryfanava on Unsplash

But not long ago I read an article by Peggy Kern, that made sense of it all.

According to Kern, tears are an outer reflection of out internal state, triggering when we feel intense emotions, usually joy or sadness.

Our intense emotions trigger both the central autonomic network (fight or flight) and the parasympathetic nervous system (that calms us).

So the strong emotions make us cry, and the tears make us feel better.

As good young humans, we are trained to cry at “appropriate” moments; not generally at work, at the supermarket, or on public transport. But generally okay during sad movies, at the doctors, or at home in private.

However, at times, the prefrontal cortex (which manages emotions), gets overwhelmed.

Usually, when we’re stressed or run down. Or somewhat more prosaically, in pain.

The brain can’t always tell when it’s physical or mental, though some argue the mental is always physical because it’s in the body not outside it.

Anyhow, this is when we get short tempered and snappy, with watering eyes, thinking enough is enough!

Though, it’s not always about us. We can shed tears of sympathy too.

So if you’re tired or stressed or feeling run down, pick a good tear inducing movie, and settle in for a good hard cry.


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