Why Women Cry More than Men?
Girls and boys cry about the same amount of times until they reach the age of twelve, by the time they are eighteen women cry on average four times more than men. That is about 5.3 cries a month compared to a man's 1.4 times per month according to research by Dr. William Frey who studies tears.
So the old belief is true, women do cry more than men. But scientists still do not know exactly why this is true. One theory is that women cry more than men mostly because of social conditioning. As males are growing up they are urged to excel and become powerful, to never show their emotions, to be tough, independent, demanding, aggressive and good problem-solvers.
Males in our culture often hear things like, don't be a sissy, don't whine like a little girl, be self-sufficient, powerful and dominate others. In comparison to females who are taught to be a lady, express their emotions and value their looks and charm.
Although these ideals and values of society are changing they still do exist. Another thought is that women cry more than men due to the physical and hormonal difference between them.
The hormone prolactin is present in the mammary glands and induces lactation but it is also found in the blood and tear glands. Boys and girls have the same level of this hormone until they are twelve years old. The girl's amount then gradually rises and by the time they are eighteen they have sixty percent more than boys do.
The tear glands in men and women are also anatomically different, as are their tears. According to Frey's research, when men cry 73 percent of the time, tears do not fall down their cheeks. Men may get misty-eyed, but teardrops don't give way. When women cry almost every crying episode involves runaway tears down their cheeks.
Sudden Tears and Menopause
There are no certain reasons which justify the human crying at various emotional occasions. In fact it emotions can never be completely explained on scientific platform. But a few biotechnologists believe that crying under some emotional influence is just because of variation in harmonic levels of body.
If the crying is linked to the human hormones, there is quite understandable, why the menopause period may trigger sudden tears on hormonal level. On emotional level, the sudden tears symptom can be totally explained by the mood swings, we discussed in one of the previous posts.
Therefore, there is no surprise that the menopausal woman may cry over the slightest thing which never would have affected her before, or she may just feel "down" for no reason at all. Buckets of tears may pour out over concerns that earlier would have solicited only a sigh.
It is clear that, as for many other symptoms, you can do so much to fight hormonal changes in your own body, but you can try to take a better grip on your emotions, so the same recommendations we developed for mood swings, will be valid for sudden tears as well. At the other hand, multiple researches show that tears bring significant stress relief, so you might not need to hold them, when you are at the state of high tension and emotional distress.
While crying may definitely benefit yourself, there are other people around, and your tears affect them emotionally as well.
In a new study from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, researchers discovered that when women cry, men’s testosterone levels drop significantly.
Multiple experiments showed that just the smell of a woman’s tears caused a dip in testosterone and reduced brain activity in areas associated with sexual arousal. The researchers believe it is a clear sign that human tears send chemical signals to the people around them. Now you have scientific explanation of why sometimes woman tears help to resolve intense family conflicts, as man do might not have equal argument to support their point.
Crying at Work
What might be a good idea in a family environment, may be equally bad idea in work environment. Most professional women have fought back tears in the workplace at some point in their careers–many unsuccessfully. A professor of management at the University of California, Davis, Kim Elsbach, Ph.D., has been studying the repercussions of crying in the workplace for over three years. According to her research, women are much more likely to cry at work—and in general—due to their socialization. Because most boys are firmly taught not to cry, holding back has become a reflex, she says. And unfortunately for women, tears at work are almost always perceived with disdain, and the consequences can be harsh.
In her research, Elsbach discovered that there are few situations where crying is “acceptable.” The worst offenses, she found, are crying in a public meeting or because of work stress, like a looming deadline or coworker disagreement, because it is considered disruptive and weak. Crying in a private performance evaluation is also considered unprofessional and often manipulative.
There are some useful tips on how you can control your tears at work:
- Anticipate situations when possible. Not all situations that bring tears to our eyes are the same. Some emotionally charged encounters can be anticipated. In these instances it is extremely useful to spend time rehearsing various responses with someone else. Be prepared. Use what you know about the person and situation to construct likely scenarios. And practice. If you can hear yourself responding to what you fear most, you will lessen your anxiety and defuse your fear while developing confidence that you can respond effectively.
- Increase your self-awareness. Women often cry without really knowing why. We cry when, actually, we are angry. Devote some energy and time to identifying your feelings more accurately. The more able you are to distinguish one feeling from another, the more you will feel able to control tears. You will find yourself less overwhelmed by feelings and thereby less likely to cry. If, as you examine your feelings, anger is what you are avoiding, work at becoming more assertive, so you more accurately and appropriately express your anger. When you feel that sensation of crying start to build, take a deep breath and immediately ask yourself, "What exactly is angering me? What do I need to do to resolve the situation?" Re-focus on the problem. This can help calm you down.
- Cultivate a sense of optimism—things generally work out. Women often cry when they feel overwhelmed with work, unrecognized, or anxious and fearful about their performance. If this is you, remember, crying will not make a dent in what is really wrong. Make a list of the actual and perceived issues and problems creating your feelings. Seek out others such as a mentor, outside friend, business coach or networking group. Use them to assist with gaining a broader perspective that includes a healthy dose of optimistic alternatives. Few things in the workplace are life and death issues. Back up and give yourself some perspective.
- Compartmentalize. If you well up frequently or easily cry at the office, your personal life may be intruding on your business life. Although somewhat artificial, it is important to create and then maintain a boundary between your personal and professional worlds. Being at work can be a great diversion. Think of work as a rest stop from the personal issues. Give yourself permission to focus on something other than your personal life. Away from the office, seek support and help from friends, family, religious leaders, a psychotherapist, family counselor, or the employee assistance program. Don’t forget that it took time for the problem to develop; it will take time to solve. Have in your repertoire a practice that helps you calm down when you need to. A good one to cultivate is mindfulness. By focusing on your breathing and utilizing relaxation techniques, you can slow down reactions, gain control and think more clearly. A complimentary strategy is focusing on content instead of the criticism, or redirecting your thoughts. For example, comment on how you can get the reports in more quickly rather than on the remark about “You’re too slow.” Or focus on how the negotiations are proceeding, instead of on your boss's question about, “Why haven’t you booked the business?" Finally, you might say to a colleague, “Matt, at the moment I’m not as concerned with your interpretation as I am with this scheduling problem."
- Acknowledge your feelings or excuse yourself. If you find yourself starting to cry when you don’t want to, say, “As you can see, I feel strongly about this. Let’s focus on how we might get along better through this tough time.” Or, if you’re feeling you can’t gain control—say, “As you can see I feel strongly about this. I’d like to take a time out and talk about it again later. I appreciate your understanding.” Then leave and book another appointment at a later time.
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