Why Do We Laugh and Cry?


(Image via NeedPix)

Morgan Cottrill, Writer

Laughing and crying. Why do we do those things? Why do we make these weird sounds and leak from our eyes? Why do I cry when I’m sad? How come when something is funny do I laugh? I am sure you have wondered about one of these questions before and if not you are probably thinking about it now. If you think about it both laughing and crying are really weird things to do. What is the purpose of crying as well? Why can we just be sad without welling tears and what might happen if we didn’t? The cool thing about the two though, is that everyone can and does laugh and cry. We don’t cry and we don’t laugh in different languages either. It’s pretty cool that no matter where you go laughing and crying is something everyone can recognize and understand. 

You typically laugh when something is funny. Or sometimes you look at a friend from across the room and the silence makes you both laugh. So what causes the spontaneous giggle to strike. When you laugh it sort of just comes out and you can’t explain what happened or why you laugh even after the fact. “Very little is known about the specific brain mechanisms responsible for laughter. But we do know that laughter is triggered by many sensations and thoughts, and that it activates many parts of the body,” according to NBC. When we laugh it is a drastic change in our breathing pattern. Laughing is something that our brains do to send a signal to others because we rarely laugh alone. People tend to laugh at things that aren’t even necessarily jokes. When a friend says something as simple as what did you get on the math test? I could very much so make you burst out laughing. Why did you laugh? I could be because you did bad or did good and the surprise made you giggle. The laughter is our brains socializing in these relationships we have to send a message to another person. The laughter keeps us from being able to create functioning sentences or sometimes breathing. Basically why we just make this odd noise when something is funny to us is because our brains think it’s funny and why would you describe in words to someone that something is funny? That would be weird. So instead we giggle and that sends a message to others to understand that we are happy and to show comedy. 

Now on the less happy side of things, crying. How come we do such a weird thing when sad. Like laughing crying is something that we sometimes just can’t control doing and it tells others how we are feeling when words can’t do our brains just do this to convey a message. What makes the tears is the lacrimal system that produces your tears, and an excretory system, that drains them. It is not known what your body thinks the right response for sadness is to send a salty liquid out of your eye. Heavy emotions are what make you cry. Whether its anger, sadness, stress, or happiness the body reads these heavy hardcore emotions as danger even when that’s not the case. That leads the brain to make your body cry. So you pretty much cry when your brain has an emotional overload. All this emotion tells your hypothalamus to produce the chemical messenger acetylcholine. Acetylcholine binds to receptors in your brain that send signals to the lacrimal glands—small glands that live beneath the bony rim of your eyes. So we don’t completely know what we cry but we do know how it works and what causes it. 

If you have ever found yourself wondering about some of those things I hope you found your answer. I know I Have personally wondered about crying and laughing which is why I wore on this topic. I found out some pretty interesting things and definitely learned a bit and I hope from reading this that you did too.