Health And Wellness

What It Might Mean If You're Crying For No Reason

Photo: phM2019 / Shutterstock
woman crying on bed

There are many times when I've seen someone else, or have myself, burst into tears. Let's just say pregnancy comes with a lot of teary showers for nine months. And then, postpartum? Those first few days after giving birth, I cried lots of happy, emotional, and exhausted tears.

Even if it may appear on the outside as if you have no reason to cry, we often internally know exactly why we've got major tears and are crying for no reason. Some cry when they get mad, and others cry when they're PMSing. It's not unusual to cry due to hormonal changes, and exhaustion can also make someone burst into tears. You name it, the list can roll on.

But I was curious to see what experts in the psychology field had to say about people who find themselves crying for no reason and burst into tears without explanation. 

Here's what they had to say.

RELATED: Don't Hold Back! 7 Reasons Crying Is Actually Good For You

1. You're revealing your "unconscious self."

Rev. Connie L. Habash, LMFT, yoga teacher, and interfaith minister had a lot of great insight into why someone might suddenly burst into tears. And it goes beyond anger, hormones, and fatigue:

“Our unconscious self (what lies below the surface of what we can consciously perceive) has powerful ways to get our attention when something needs to be healed or revealed, and bursting into tears is one of those potent signs. This symptom usually happens when an individual has been repressing a lot of emotional material for a long period of time, such as childhood trauma, anxiety, or grief.

When I work with clients, I have them welcome in the tears and feel the sensations in the body. This is counter-intuitive because most people just want it to 'go away.' But the resistance, as the old saying goes, causes the emotions not only to persist but to actually build within them. Eventually, the build-up becomes too much, like a pot boiling over, and that’s the sign that the avoided material or feeling needs to be explored and healed.

By learning to feel the emotions and face the life experiences that created them, we develop resilience — the ability to withstand the challenges of life with some grace. Additionally, by staying with the feelings and allowing them to flow through us mindfully, they eventually recede. It’s like turning down the heat and slowly emptying out that boiling pot. Then, all that space gives us a greater capacity not only to deal with life’s ups and downs but to hold more joy and ease within.”

RELATED: How To Figure Out The Reason For Your Emotions (Hint: It's Not Random!)

2. Your memories and emotions are coming out through your body. 

According to Rachel Dash-Dougherty, the Grounded Therapist, she agrees with what Habash says:

"If someone bursts into tears, it can mean they are being been flooded by their emotions. There is a common belief that ignoring your emotions will make them go away; the opposite is true. The longer you ignore or resist your emotions, the more powerful they become. When you ignore and disconnect from your feelings, the smallest things can lead to an overwhelming flood of emotions.

Think of an over-stuffed suitcase or soda bottle. It appears that we not only store memories in our minds, we also keep them in our bodies. Think of the feeling of butterflies in your stomach when you are nervous. Memories and the emotions connected to them can be brought on by physical contact."

3. You're wired to be emotionally sensitive and prone to crying.

Dr. Tracy Thomas, a licensed psychologist, interventionist, and high-performance coach, shares that you may be crying due to your emotional sensitivities and low emotional strength:

"People who burst into tears for no reason are probably people who are more emotionally sensitive. They are typically born that way and are very much dispositionally sensitive to things feeling really intense. Then, the crying is a release from the tension and a reaction to being overstimulated in general, overstimulated by stress...

As a person who helps emotionally sensitive people build emotional strength, I can tell you this is a very serious issue for a lot of people. Those that cry for no reason often have lots of emotional instability because they are emotionally sensitive, and life is generally more intense and amplified for them. There is a spectrum of sensitivity and some are just not emotionally strong enough to just be aware of things without being impacted and affected by them. 

People with more emotional strength are just more connected/more present and more able to be aware of things, process them and make decisions with intention. People who are more sensitive struggle to emotionally process their experiences, so crying is a way they relieve the overload of what they could not process more easily because the emotional strength isn't where it needs to be."

RELATED: Emotional Intelligence Will Make You Happier — Here’s How To Get Some

Laura Lifshitz is a former MTV personality who writes about divorce, sex, women’s issues, fitness, parenting, marriage, and more for YourTango, New York Times, DivorceForce, Women’s Health, Working Mother, Pop Sugar, and more.