Why do we cry with both extremes: happiness and sadness?

I've thought about this for a long time, I find it interesting that we have the same reaction with both extremes. We cry when we're overjoyed about something, and we also cry when we're extremely sad, or with pain. Why's that? Crying is a stress reliever, so I understand crying when you're sad, but why cry when you're happy?

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Most Helpful Girl

  • Crying is a release of hormones:

    There are multiple kinds of tears and when you have a surge of hormones (adrenaline, happiness, sadness, etc.) you need to release that from your body and literally you cry out the excess.

    If you want more info:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRroj26qVb0

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Most Helpful Guy

  • i imagine it's just a heightened emotional there is a connection between your tear ducts and the part of your brain that processes emotions

    so it may be a stress relief to some but really it's just your brain experiencing a heightened emotion and the tear ducts being activated via that neural connection

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    • See, now that makes more sense. I didn't know that.
      You have a kid/s, right? Did you cry when they were born?

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    • yeah i don't think i'd ever cried from joy/happiness either. but the tears came for sure.

    • thanks for MHO

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What Girls Said 14

  • Because its still stress.

    Any emotion is the result of stress, we are simply interpreting it differently according to the situation.

    Extreme happiness gives us the same symptoms as extreme distress.
    Tight chest, clammy hands, elevated heart rate etc.

    It only feels different because thats how we interpret it. But its the same feeling over all, thats why they share the symptom of crying.

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    • Positive stress is called eustress and negative stress is called distress.

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    • @redeyemindtricks Thats actually pretty normal haha
      I learned in psychology that people function best at certain levels of distress. If the levels are too low, we become unproductive with little drive, so we need distress else we won't get anything done. But then there's the issue of TOO much distress, where instead of becoming productive as a way to counter it, we actually lose productivity all together.
      Its a sensitive game of balance, one that a lot of people, self included, haven't quite mastered.

      Its amazing, apparently i actually did learn something at school XD

    • ah, psychology class... where we "learn" things we've known since we were like six 😂

      I mean yh... that just means if you want to Get Shit Done, you can't be **too** frazzled... but, you can't be too chill, either (IE the reason why stoners aren't out conquering the world mahah).
      I hope that didn't surprise anyone?

      I'm just saying, my "sweet spot" / "comfort level" is well into the redline area of "hollllyyyyy shiiittt my life is CRAYYYY" for most people.

      __

      In other words, this eustress word seems like a Smart Kid Word for... being pumped. Stoked. Bringing yr A-game. Carpe diem. etc etc lol

  • I guess it is just a way to let overwhelming emotion out. I have cried when I was extremely angry as well.

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  • Happiness and sadness are both emotions that for some people share crying as a stress reliever. Some people cry with happiness because they are relieved that things are okay now. And a lot of people cry with sadness because they are trying to release a stressful emotion from their minds.

    So with both happiness and sadness, human beings are trying relieve their bodies of stress.

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  • Because biologically, your body experiences them both similarly. Extreme emotion if any "flavor" can induce crying. It's the intensity, not necessarily the emotion itself.

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    • If you want technicality, look up about the amygdala and the HPA axis. Amygdala just takes in any information from our environment, and sorts it into binary categories, basically either "not intense" or "intense." From there it gets processed rationally, but if the initial interpretation is "intense," then the HPA axis gets going, and blah, blah, blah more of my brain geek stuff.

      Surprise party? Intense. Wedding? Can be intense, it's person specific. Car accident? Intense. Laying on the couch? Not intense. Etc etc

  • Extreme emotion from anything can induce crying. Happiness and sadness are like opposite sides of the same coin. I've never cried out of happiness but I probably will when I get engaged and I love the guy.

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  • I think it's because we don't expect that kind of happiness at the moment it happens, thus it's too overwhelming for us.

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    • But why is it overwhelming? Like, how can happiness be overwhelming?

    • You've never cried of happiness? I think it just happened once or twice to me, but I remember it was a mixture of huge relief and a feeling of accomplishment, basically things I'm not used to feel every day. You're just so happy your body reacts to the emotion by making you cry. Not a scientist lol but yeah.

    • No, I've never cried of happiness :/ I've never really understood it, that's why I'm asking to see if someone can explain their feelings when they cried of happiness lol

  • Because the emotions you feel when you're extremely happy are so overwhelming that you cry about it

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  • I don't know why, but crying is honestly such a stress reliever. Plus, it's a natural sleeping helper. lol

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  • I think its because of what another person said.. its a overwhelming emotion.. though i admit i rarely ever cry from being happy.

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  • Because my emotions fill up my head they leak out of my eyes

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  • I've never cried of happiness. I've only cried when I was upset or laughing too hard.

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  • We human beings react similarly to strong emotions.

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  • Because it's overwhelming

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    • Why is it overwhelming to, for example, see your friend getting married? What's overwhelming about that? And how can you be overwhelmed about happiness? :/

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    • Not necessarily you, but there's lots of people that tend to cry at weddings.
      So you felt overwhelmed when you got your dog?
      Maybe I'm a heartless dude lol or have yet to experience such level of happiness xD

    • you're not heartless everyone just experiences things differently. Yes, I felt overwhelmed and happy.

  • Can't say I have ever cried of happiness

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What Guys Said 7

  • I'll drop something for your thought :
    Being exited about something and anxiety are the same reaction happening in our body. The way we see it/think it changes how we live it. For hapiness and sadness, it's both being overwhelmed and letting go of some of it.

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  • some people cry when they can't express it in words
    some people who've dealt with negative emotions are likely to cry when they're happy. it's like balancing each other, it's called emotional equilibrium

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    • Hmm that makes sense. I've never cried from happiness, so I don't fully understand it from personal experiences.

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    • What did cry about if you don't mind me asking?

    • it's fine. it was seeing my dad after a long time.

  • Think of it in terms of hormonal changes like neurotransmitters such as serotonin or dopamine. The answer is scientific and is already floating around.

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  • I know what you are saying but I have never cried over happiness. It must be a protective mechanism to prevent overload of neurotransmitters

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  • Release of chemicals in your body. Google "why do we cry when we are happy"

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  • It's overwhelming to feel any extreme emotion.

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    • Is it really overwhelming to be happy? I mean, what's overwhelming about seeing two people getting married? For example

    • I don't know how to explain it.

  • Last time I cried was sometime in the fifties.

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