Crying Dumps Stress Hormones

crying and stressHave you ever had one of those days, where nothing seems to be working out? You are at a loss for what to do and the next thing you know the tears start to flow. You don’t know why you are crying and no matter how hard you try to choke them back, they keep on coming.

It turns out, sometimes crying is actually good for us. Under stress the body produces adrenocorticotrophin (ACTH) and a biochemical analysis shows that this hormone is significantly present in tears. Not only is crying an emotional release, it helps the body get rid of this hormone.

We know that stress continues to be a main issue impacting engagement and retention in our organizations. A Gallup Poll asked participants how often they feel frustrated at work. 13% of engaged workers said that they “very often feel frustrated”. In contrast, 60% of actively disengaged workers and 26% of not-engaged employees said they “very often feel frustrated”. These responses suggest that there is a relationship between being engaged and frustration levels.

Feeling frustrated and stressed can lead us to respond by crying. A University of Minnesota study found that on average, men cry once a month, while women cry five times as often. This can take place at work and can lead to further frustration and embarrassment.

So how do you deal with this in your workplace? Are your managers trained to look for the signs of stress within their teams? Do they know how to manage the stress levels and offer support during stressful times?

If they haven’t been trained properly, they may actually make a difficult situation worse. This may lead to further disengagement and turnover.

Crying can be an effective strategy to deal with stress if it is used to release pent up emotions and allow the person to find the right strategies to problem solve the situation. A good leader knows how to help the person move from the emotional state into problem-solving.

Learning how to recognize the signs of stress and knowing how to manage these within a team, can help to decrease frustration, improve well-being and lead to increased engagement…all which impact your bottom-line.

For more information on the Stress Smart for Leaders workshops – visit

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Written by Beverly Beuermann-King

Building Resiliency Through Stress and Wellness Strategies.
Stress and resiliency strategist, Beverly Beuermann-King, CSP, translates current research and best practices information into a realistic, accessible and more practical approach through her dynamic stress and wellness workshops, on-line stress and resiliency articles, books, e-briefs and media interviews.

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