Health & Spirit

Sometimes crying is healthy

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

In the 2008 film "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) takes a Hawaiian vacation to get over his recent breakup. But his ex and her new boyfriend turn out to be staying in his hotel. The discovery shatters him, and he ends up sobbing on his balcony. Then the front desk calls: "We're getting complaints about a woman crying hysterically," the desk clerk says. "I think it's from the floor above me," he replies, trying to deflect blame. "You're on the top floor," is the retort.

Being a crier like Peter may sound embarrassing, but science shows that he was getting healthy, on several levels.

--Research indicates that crying activates the parasympathetic nervous system, or your "rest and digest" state. That's also equivalent to a meditation response to stress, and the opposite of your alert, fight-or-flight state -- good for the cardiovascular system and the spirit.

--Tears that express emotion contain beneficial chemicals and help eliminate toxins from your body.

--Crying also stimulates release of the love hormone oxytocin, a chemical associated with comforting and happiness.

--It is thought that crying releases opioids in the brain, which helps reduce pain. In short, crying is an effective form of self-soothing. ("There, there, things will be OK.")

--In the blink of an eye, you'll be transferring oxygen, moisture, nutrients and antibodies that fight infection to your cornea.

--It helps rally support from those around you when you're down.

Our advice to Peter: Cry it out; hop the next boat to Maui; find a new gal!


Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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