Why Am I Crying For No Reason?

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You’re doing your daily routine, living your regular life. Maybe you’re watching a movie or having a conversation with a friend. Then out of nowhere, you find yourself crying for no apparent reason. After wiping away the tears, all you can do is sit confused asking yourself, why am I crying for no reason?

Women have been observed to cry more frequently than men, according to research by Vingerhoets, a clinical psychologist at Tilburg University. Research found that women cry 30 to 64 times a year while men cry just 6 to 7 times. Women were also reported to cry longer at six minutes at a time while for men it was 2 minutes.

time spent crying men vs women

Men have been observed to cry less often than women, owing to social conditioning; crying does not fit in their image of stereotypical manhood. It makes them weak.

In some cases, a crying spell indicates a physical cause while at times they may arise from subconscious emotions that you have not processed. If you tend to be teary-eyed for no reason, then this article can help you figure out why this is happening and what you can do about it.

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1. PMS

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) affects 85% of women of childbearing age, with many women experiencing mood swings prior to menstruation. PMS may cause wild, uncontrollable mood swings is some women, who may go from crying spells to outbursts and anxiety attacks, then stable emotions – all in one day.

Estrogen is the hormone responsible for the emotional roller coaster that a woman experiences during her monthly period. After your period ends, estrogen levels rise slowly  before they peak again after two weeks. They then drop again dramatically and rise slowly before dropping again just before menstruation starts. The high and lows are what cause mood swings in women.

Premenstrual dysphonic disorder (PMDD) is a severe PMS that affects around 3 to 9 percent of women. PMDD is characterized severe depression two weeks before the onset of your period. PMDD can also be caused by genetics or in women who have experienced prior bouts of depression. For a medical doctor to induce that you have PMDD you have to exhibit the following conditions  at the time of your period:

  • Deep sadness or despair
  • Lasting irritability and anger
  • Feeling of anxiety, panic attacks, and mood swings,
  • Trouble focusing
  • Fatigue
  • Binge eating
  • Crying

Treatment for mild cases of PMS may include lifestyle changes; exercise is known to lift moods by releasing endorphins (feel good brain chemicals), calcium supplements and avoiding caffeine and alcohol.

Learn how stress affects your menstrual cycle

2. Depression

Finding yourself crying for no reason and at all times? Feeling fatigued and battling extreme mood swings? Does waking up and doing your chores feel like lifting a rock? You may be suffering from depression and it may be the cause for those endless tears that you can’t put your figure to.

Clinical depression is often associated with feelings that you do not want to live your life any more. People with depression spend a lot of time within their world and there is general apathy towards day to day activities. Fatigue, low appetite, trouble sleeping and a low self esteem are some of the symptoms of depression.

When girls reach puberty the risk of depression increases to twice that of boys. Hormonal changes as a girl transitions to a woman are thought to be the cause in them being more predisposed.  As a woman goes through giving birth, menopause, still birth this changes become more evident.

In addition, the hormone fluctuations that occur during a woman’s period contribute to PMS or in extreme cases to premenstrual dysphonic disorder (PMDD). PMDD is a more serious condition that occurs just before menstruation and is often associated with depression in women.

3. Stress

Stressful situations such as divorce, job loss may not cause PMS but they usually make it worse. Female hormones interact with brain chemicals in a way that can affect mood in those with PMS. Serotonin levels are known to drop when estrogen levels are at all time low. Low serotonin levels also lead to cases of depression. This in turn may cause moments of crying amongst women.

4. Anxiety

During a period of extreme anxiety, some people may feel the need tp cry. You may find that what lies ahead causes you to tremble with a lot of fear. Panic attacks may be as a result of the brain signaling impending disaster or death of a loved one. This can be real or imaginery. The body in an effort to process this emotions one may find themselves crying.

Anxiety while a separate disorder can affect your social life and your ability to enjoy life. Anxiety puts pressure on mind, soul and body. Anxiety often leads to feelings of depression; in fact it’s often a comorbid diagnosis with depression.

When you cry you are letting out steam and that’s why crying is a natural stress reliever. Your body designed crying specifically for this level of stress. Those who fail to cry continue holding onto these toxic emotions that eventually lead to numbing of emotions. Men unlike women due to machismo tend to hold on to their emotions which often lead to cases of depression

5. Watery Eyes

Your crying may also not have anything to do with your hormones; it may be that you’re suffering from watery eyes. This symptom is to be found in new born babies and the older people.

The lacrimal gland which is located to on the outer side of the eye contantly makes small amounts of tears. When you blink, the eyelids pass tears over the eye to keep it moist. The tears then pass down channels on the inner side of the eye into the tear sac. They then flow through the tear duct and into your nose.

Anything that irritates the eyes can cause you to shed a lot of tears.

Sometimes watery eyes can be the result of your lower eyelids turning outwards away from the eye. Tears toll to the bottom of your eyelid instead of the tear sac.

6. Smaller Tear Ducts

Women are also biologically built to cry more than men. Men tear ducts are larger than for women, meaning that it takes less liquid to spill over in a woman’ eyes than does a man’s. Men can easily blink the tears away, while for women tears will start running down their cheeks.

7. Social Activities

It could also be because women engage in a lot of activities that are emotionally draining. Soap operas – which most women love – demand a lot of emotional attachment which can lead to lots of crying. It is also noted the type of books women would chose to read, romantic and emotional can lead to tears. The male counterpart would be properly fixing his car or engaged in a high tense game of football or any other sports.

It is also to be noted that women take up a lot of emotionally engaging professions like nursing or homecare while men take up the technical ones. This jobs that most men take up deprive them an opportunity to express their emotions.

So the next time you feel like crying for no reason, don’t hold back the tears. Besides there is lot of documented evidence to suggest that crying has health benefits including releases toxins, tears kill bacteria, clears vision, improves mood, relieves stress and boosts communication in a relationship.

Holding on to tears can be disastrous as you keep a lot of toxic emotions stored within you. So let down those tears.

Additional Resources

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About the author

I'm an avid reader and love anything to do with mindfulness and mental health!

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