Picture: File Weeping better than a good cry
Having a good weep is “like giving yourself a hug”, say researchers, who claim that, when we do it, the process triggers the release of natural anti-stress chemicals.

Researchers from Siena University Hospital in Italy reviewed several other historical theories about the origins and purpose of weeping. One suggestion was that when prehistoric humans began to use fire in farewell ceremonies and funeral cremations, tears triggered by the smoke became associated with sadness.

According to a study, reported in New Ideas In Psychology, weeping is distinct from crying - a shrill, loud sound, often in response to pain, while weeping, which is unique to humans, is an emotional expression of grief - or happiness.

Women weep for four times longer than men, while newborns cry but do not weep, and do not produce tears until two to three months old.

“Tears that gently and slowly run over the cheeks have a sort of gentle massaging effect, causing stress-relieving compounds, endorphins, to be produced by the body, leading to a feeling of wellbeing. In other words, tears are self-cuddles,” the researchers say.

“Weeping is an appeal to others for empathy and can also improve people’s moods." -