Why do we cry? ⎢The Paperclip Series

Why do we cry? ⎢The Paperclip Series


In Japan you can find a place to cry and also
have a handsome man wipe your tears away. How often do you cry? Also known as rui-katsu or “tear-seeking,”
the practice is especially popular with women and is said to relieve stress levels. Now this practice might sound weird to you,
but that probably depends from where you’re from. One of you asked “why do we cry”, or “why
do some of us have difficulties whilst others don’t”. If I told you that in Japan, some baseball
players cry after losing a game or some people cry during a farewell speech, I’m curios to
see how many of you are thinking: How unsportsmanlike! or “Boys and Big Girls don’t cry”. When Ryutaro Nonomura cried at a Congressional
hearing, Americans found him more weak than sincere. However data from the International Study
on Adult Crying suggest that the Japanese are among the least likely to cry. Americans, by contrast, are among the most
likely. LILLIAN: I think what’s good about crying
therapy, with the crying man, is that you don’t actually have to say what you’re
crying about. So I asked some people from different backgrounds
to explain what they think of crying therapy ME: Do you think it is weird? HAMID: Yes. HAMID: Have you ever seen something like this? ME: No, no I haven’t
HAMID: So it’s weird. NATALIE: So weird, so bizarre. MEGAN: If I wanted that kind of service I
would want, like, the whole package. LILLIAN: I think it’s a good thing, but
it also, maybe, feel a bit odd, I suppose. ANDREA: The point is, it’s a little bit
weird for our culture. Hamid: I think it’s a new way of helping
people that we’re not used to seeing. Andrea: Here you don’t find someone who’s
actually helping you to cry. But I can understand that if you are a Japanese,
it’s useful. Lillian: In America that’s not a commodity,
but it’s a commodity somewhere else. I think it’s just interesting though how
tears… it’s like a big deal. You can go and pay to be emotional in front
of someone you don’t know. I suppose it’s a different form of therapy. Which is good right? If you feel embarrassed about doing that in
public. Y’know, you can go and y’know, it’s
with a handsome man, so. Me: Hiroki Terai is the mastermind behind
this, and has written extensively on the subject. In a culture where hiding one’s anger and
sadness is considered a virtue, he found that showing your vulnerability can bring people
together, and work better as a team. This idea has also expanded into hotel crying
rooms, and is even reaching parts of Europe and the U.S. We know 3 types of tears, basal, reflex and
psychogenic, also known as emotional tears. And that’s what interests us the most, because
they MIGHT contain high levels of toxic chemicals that cause stress. So what that means is tears are literally
throwing away our stress. Whilst also producing endorphins, our body’s
natural pain killer and “feel-good” hormones.” BUT they could also have the exact same composition
of saliva, making everything I said a bunch of baloney. So crying seems to be a sort of catharsis. That is when we purge or relieve emotional
tensions. It’s a wonderful experience. However this may not always be the case. According to another “International study”
whether crying is cathartic, depends on the social context, where the effects of crying
have actually yielded a mixed set of results. And ultimately, crying too much might not
help those with depression or mood disorders. So emotional crying should be a natural stress
reliever, however depending from where you are, or what you are going through, it might
even have the opposite effect. This is perhaps why crying therapy has been
so successful. Anthropologically crying is a social signal,
used to expose our feelings in moments of danger, or call support from others to better
the situation. Receiving social support from others may be
critical to experiencing catharsis. Andrea: Would I go to the crying therapy? Probably not. Hamid: I think that I would not do it. Natalie: No. Megan: I feel like I don’t have a problem
crying. I let go of that crying emotion enough times. Andrea: I’m just a sensitive person, so
there’s no problem for me crying in front of a woman, in front of my girlfriend, in
from of my family. But If I needed, yeah. Me: how do you feel when you cry? Natalie: I feel awful when I’m crying, it’s
just horrible. But if you’re crying because you’re
laughing, it’s great, love it. Megan: yeah, after crying I do feel a lot
better, and usually when I do happen to cry it’s mainly when I’m unable to comunicate
myself. Me: How is crying seen in Iran? Hamid: I think it’s very similar to Europe,
but it’s more strict. (In Europe) The male should not cry, and
for the female it’s more acceptable. In Iran it’s the same thing, but I think
more obvious. Me: In the states, how is crying perceived. Lillian: Well, it’s interesting because,
man the U.S. is such a melting pot. It sort of ricocheted between being a sign
of weakness and relief, but unfortunately yeah, it makes people a bit standoffish. I mean I just think overall, in the U.S. crying
isn’t as nuanced as it should be. Megan: I feel like Canada is quite tough,
we’re like a hockey loving, sitting in the garage type of place, and get over whatever
you’re feeling upset about. I feel like Canada has, a very strong, VERY
strong feeling that boys need to be tough, and girls are going to be emotional. Andrea: I think that Italians don’t think
it’s a normal thing for a man to cry, it’s pretty much something that is passed through
stereotypes. Natalie: Crying in the U.K. is probably a
bit more widely accepted. So I don’t think it’s a massive deal here,
and that’s good! Me: To paint a picture of how cultures differ: – In Taiwan, you can find Liu Jun-Lin, a professional
funeral mourner. This was originally practiced in the Mediterranean
and Ancient Egypt: known as Moirologists or Praefica from ancient latin. – Meanwhile, In Ghana you can find the Kumasi
Funeral Criers Association (KUFUCA), a body made up of professional and talented criers. – During the Sierra Leone Conflict, if you
cried, the rebels would kill you. – Brides and females of the Tujia in China
start crying one whole month in advance before a wedding. – And now in the U.K., Prime Minister Theresa
May has appointed a “minister for loneliness”. These are just to name a few. Lillian: It’s one of those things where
yeah, you don’t actually have to say what’s actually on you’re mind. You can just cry, like it’s okay to just
cry. Andrea: I think that we are born with a sixth
sense, indeed. We actually can understand what a person is
thinking and if they are behaving normally, by only looking through his eyes and his face. Me: But ultimately these answers are filtered
by their minds. Neuroscientist, Sophie Scott, explains how
pupilometry can determine whether you really think an emotion is genuine or not. Sophie Scott: If we stop asking people and
we start looking at people what you find is it is still getting through. So what we did, my PhD student Sinead Chen,
used pupilometry. And what this involves is looking at the size
of you’re pupil. Which is the little black dot in the middle of you’re
eyes. What you find is that although people will
not acknowledge, they won’t say that real crying sounds like really crying, their eyes
are giving them away. And in fact, you’re even reacting to genuine
emotions, you might cognitively think “oh, they’re probably not real”. And to end, I’d like to quote the Roman poet
Ovid: “It is a relief to weep; grief is satisfied and carried off by tears”. So we don’t cry because we’re sad, but to
get over being sad. To stay healthy and release stress. Even if crying embarrasses you, it might signal
that you’ve reached a level of stress that’s detrimental to your health. For both women and men, tears should be a
sign of courage, strength, and authenticity. So next time you feel like crying, go ahead.

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