Why Humans Like to Cry

Michael Trimble

Michael Trimble
Image: Courtesy of Michael Trimble

Michael Trimble, a British professor at the Institute of Neurology in London, begins his new book with Gana the gorilla. In the summer of 2009, 11-year-old Gana gave birth to a boy at a Muenster zoo. But one day in August, the baby suddenly and mysteriously died. Gana held up her son in front of her, staring at his limp body. She held him close, stroking him. To onlookers it appeared that Gana was trying to reawaken him, and, as the hours passed, that she was mourning his passing. Some at the zoo that day cried. But Gana did not. Humans, Trimble tells us, are the only creatures who cry for emotional reasons. “Why Humans Like to Cry” is an exploration of why this would be so, a neuroanatomical “where do tears come from.” It’s also a meditation on human psychology. Many distinctions have been offered between humans and the rest of the animal world, and to this list Trimble adds another: the anguished tear, the apprehension that life is tragic. Trimble answered questions from Mind Matters editor Gareth Cook.

Cook: How did you first become interested in crying?
Trimble: Of course, because I cry, and some things bring tears quite easily, notably music, and opera with the power of the human voice.
Crying tears, for emotional reasons, is unique to humans. There has been a game of catch me if you can, which has been played by those interested in finding attributes or behaviours which separate humans from our nearest living relatives – namely the chimpanzees and bonobos. Certainly our propositional language is very special, but primate communities have very sophisticated ways of communicating. Other contenders, such as play, using tools, or having what is called theory of mind (the sense that I know that others have a mind very like mine, with similar inclinations and intentions) have all been argued as unique to our species, but all these have been demonstrated, in some form, to be found in other primates. Emotional crying makes us human.

Cook: What is known about crying in the animal world?
Trimble: Tears are necessary to keep the eyeball moist, and contain proteins and other substances which maintain the eye healthy and to combat infection. Tearing occurs in many animals in response to irritants which get in the eye, and in some settings tears fall for simple anatomical facts. When an elephant is standing, tears run down the trunk, but when lying down, the flow is impeded and tears may be seen coming from the eyes. It may be that animals that are abused shed tears, from pain, although observations of this are rare.

Cook: How is crying different in humans?
Trimble: Humans cry for many reasons, but crying for emotional reasons and crying in response to aesthetic experiences are unique to us. The former is most associated with loss and bereavement, and the art forms that are most associated with tears are music, literature and poetry. There are very few people who cry looking at paintings, sculptures or lovely buildings. But we also have tears of joy the associated feelings of which last a shorter time than crying in the other circumstances.

Cook: What do you find most interesting about the neuroscience of crying?
Trimble: If it is the case that only humans cry emotionally, then there must have been a time in human evolution when tears took on an additional meaning to their hitherto biological functions , namely as a signal of distress, and a cipher for suffering. In my book I discuss at when in the past our ancestors may come to possess this trait. I suggest that this is connected with the dawning of self-consciousness, with the development of theory of mind, and the realisation that the self and others can disappear. Attachment emotionally to others, with the development of sophisticated facial gestures associated with suffering, and with loss and bereavement ensued. All this before the development of our elegant propositional language. The emotional responses became largely unconscious and innate, and identification of tears as a signal for such distress was an important addition the so called Social brain, the circuitry of which can now be identified in the human brain.
I also discuss the differences between the neuroanatomy of the human brain and that of chimpanzees and other closely related primates, which may explain our ability to respond emotionally with tears to the arts. The brain areas involved are widespread, but link our cerebral cortex especially anteriorly with those areas associated with the representation of emotion – so called limbic structures and our autonomic system. The latter co-ordinates heart rate, breathing, and vocal output, all of which collaborate in the expression of emotion with tears.

Cook: You mention “theory of mind” and crying. Can you tell me more about the connection between the two?
Trimble: Theory of mind refers to an area of social cognition which has developed hugely in humans, although similar abilities in much more limited forms have been shown in chimpanzees. The ability to feel compassion, the embodiment of which relates to our capacity for empathy, is triggered by what the neurologist Antonio Damasio refers to as emotionally competent stimuli. The responses are automatic, unconscious and bound in with our personal memories. Seeing facial expressions of sadness trigger the neuronal circuits related to theory of mind and empathy, which to some extent overlap, and involve, in part, those brain areas that give us our visceral, emotional feelings noted above. The tear, as part of the expression of suffering, became an emblem embroidering the expression. The tear, mythological linked with purity with a pearl shape has provided an image which, over time, has come by itself to symbolise sadness, grief, but also joy in music, poetry and the visual arts.

Cook: What lesson do you think this holds for us?
Trimble: Tears are a natural response to not only suffering, but also to feeling compassion for someone who is shedding tears. There has been much reluctance, especially on behalf of men, to admit to crying, and to crying in public. Yet Greek heroes such as Agamemnon and Achilles cried, and 2012 has seen many public tears, from the winners and losers in the Olympic games, to President Obama who cried after his re-election victory. We should not be afraid of our emotions, especially those related to compassion, since our ability to feel empathy and with that to cry tears, is the foundation of a morality and culture which is exclusively human.

Source: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=why-humans-like-to-cry



happiness-wideGrab happiness whenever you feel like it;s somewhere near..

And keep the distressing stuff at arm’s length whenever you feel like it’s about tocommand over you..

And smile for everything, every single second you’re blessed with.

The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything,
they just make the best of everything that comes their way.happiness_boy

Women Who Inspire – Sohaila Abdulali

“After being raped, I was wounded; My honour was not: Sohaila Abdulali

“When I fought to live that night, I hardly knew what I was fighting for. A male friend and I had gone for a walk up a mountain near my home. Four armed men caught us and made us climb to a secluded spot, where they raped me for several hours, and beat both of us. They argued among themselves about whether or not to kill us, and finally let us go.

At 17, I was just a child. Life rewarded me richly for surviving. I stumbled home, wounded and traumatized, to a fabulous family. With them on my side, so much came my way. I found true love. I wrote books. I saw a kangaroo in the wild. I caught buses and missed trains. I had a shining child. The century changed. My first gray hair appeared.

Too many others will never experience that. They will not see that it gets better, that the day comes when one incident is no longer the central focus of your life. One day you find you are no longer looking behind you, expecting every group of men to attack. One day you wind a scarf around your throat without having a flashback to being choked. One day you are not frightened anymore.

Rape is horrible. But it is not horrible for all the reasons that have been drilled into the heads of Indian women. It is horrible because you are violated, you are scared, someone else takes control of your body and hurts you in the most intimate way. It is not horrible because you lose your “virtue.” It is not horrible because your father and your brother are dishonored. I reject the notion that my virtue is located in my vagina, just as I reject the notion that men’s brains are in their genitals.

If we take honor out of the equation, rape will still be horrible, but it will be a personal, and not a societal, horror. We will be able to give women who have been assaulted what they truly need: not a load of rubbish about how they should feel guilty or ashamed, but empathy for going through a terrible trauma.

The week after I was attacked, I heard the story of a woman who was raped in a nearby suburb. She came home, went into the kitchen, set herself on fire and died. The person who told me the story was full of admiration for her selflessness in preserving her husband’s honor. Thanks to my parents, I never did understand this.

The law has to provide real penalties for rapists and protection for victims, but only families and communities can provide this empathy and support. How will a teenager participate in the prosecution of her rapist if her family isn’t behind her? How will a wife charge her assailant if her husband thinks the attack was more of an affront to him than a violation of her?

At 17, I thought the scariest thing that could happen in my life was being hurt and humiliated in such a painful way. At 49, I know I was wrong: the scariest thing is imagining my 11-year-old child being hurt and humiliated. Not because of my family’s honor, but because she trusts the world and it is infinitely painful to think of her losing that trust. When I look back, it is not the 17-year-old me I want to comfort, but my parents. They had the job of picking up the pieces.

This is where our work lies, with those of us who are raising the next generation. It lies in teaching our sons and daughters to become liberated, respectful adults who know that men who hurt women are making a choice, and will be punished.

When I was 17, I could not have imagined thousands of people marching against rape in India, as we have seen these past few weeks. And yet there is still work to be done. We have spent generations constructing elaborate systems of patriarchy, caste and social and sexual inequality that allow abuse to flourish. But rape is not inevitable, like the weather. We need to shelve all the gibberish about honor and virtue and did-she-lead-him-on and could-he-help-himself. We need to put responsibility where it lies: on men who violate women, and on all of us who let them get away with it while we point accusing fingers at their victims.”

– Sohaila Abdulali.”

Don’t be a litterbug

our-earth-our-habit-1302834784Asking a very simple question:

Have you ever thought or imagine of your home to be filled with litter or to be filthy?

The answer of 90 percent people on this surface will be,
“NO! How can you just think of asking such question? Ofcourse not!”

But what if I substitute your present home to the entire home that is THE EARTH. The acyual home of yours, if you realize.
Yes! It wouldn’t be wrong enough if I say that we are all confined to just the boundaries of our homes in which we live. But we never realize and think about WHERE we live, about the surface on  which our homes are located. Our own surroundings.

Every single being including me, frankly, litter on the earth. In trying to keep our homes clean, we through the trash outside without thinking how much harm it may cause.

Litter trashes the environment. It is an eyesore that pollutes the earth and costs a fortune to clean up. Once the trash gets free, wind and water move it from outside of the home to the streets and highways to paarks and the waterways. A study reveals that 18 percent of the litter ends up in the rivers, streams and oceans.

Think for just a minute!
The water that you drink comes from these only main sources that are litter-filled. You’ll for sure feel something in your throat and you’ll for sure think:
“Am I drinking that water?”
At the very moment you’ll just want to take the water out of your stomach from the esophagus through your mouth onto the floor.

But think for the solution instead of doing such act as it will not help. Think for what you can do on your part. Start working on it. Doing your part to keep litter to a minimum is easy, but it takes vigilance. For starters, never let the trash escape from your car, and make sure to properly tighten the garbage bins in your homes and always remember to take the garbage with you upon leaving a park or any other public place and put it in its right place.

Never blame the entire society for been littering and making the environment unhealthy to live in. Firstly look at yourself. Are you doing your part?
this single line will solve everything! Believe me!

The healthier the environment, the healthier will be you!

Pakistan’s Sleep Deficit

Pakistanis seem to be prejudiced against sleep. Actually, we seem to be prejudiced against rest and relaxation of any sort. We never get leisure to rest, it’s work, work and work all the time. But the prejudice against sleep is especially pernicious.
          Anyone who sleeps “too much,” or who is not up and about by some arbitrarily defined time in the morning, is considered to be morally suspect–a practitioner of sloth, one of the seven deadly sins. It doesn’t matter whether that person has been asleep for nine hours or ninety minutes–if he is “sleeping late” he must be lazy.
          But the fact is that adequate sleep is as necessary to life as adequate food. A person who fails to get enough sleep on any given night begins to accumulate what sleep experts call a “sleep debt.” That debt must eventually be paid, too. If it continues to accumulate, the body will at some point simply refuse to stay awake, no matter how hard the person tries to keep his eyes open.
          Before slipping into such a deep sleep, a sleep-deprived person will usually go through a stage where he lapses into “micro-sleeps,” lasting from a few seconds to a few minutes, without even knowing that he has dozed. Of course, if he is driving a car, flying a plane, or operating dangerous machinery, he might find out in a most unpleasant way that he has been napping on the job. Even worse, he might not live long enough to find out at all. A young cousin of mine is currently undergoing physical rehabilitation for neck and spine injuries suffered when he went off the road and flipped his car over after dozing off at the wheel. It happened, as such accidents often do, after he had worked a late shift.
          Just as we need adequate sleep, we also need regular sleep schedules. Jet lag is the most obvious and best known manifestation of severely disrupted sleep routines, but any irregular sleep pattern can stress both the body and the mind.
          Sleep deprivation and irregular sleep patterns are implicated in heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, overeating, drug and alcohol abuse, and depression. People who do not get enough sleep or who are unable to sleep according to a regular schedule are almost certainly shortening their lives. Sleep deprivation also compromises the immune system, rendering one more susceptible to illnesses of all kinds, from colds to cancer.
          Dr. William C. Dement, a pioneer in sleep research–actually, one of the “inventors” of that field of study–laments in his book The Promise of Sleep that “a huge reservoir of knowledge about sleep, sleep deprivation, and sleep disorders has been building up behind a dam of pervasive ignorance and unresponsive bureaucracies.” The resistance to accepting the necessity of sleep, he warns, has made inevitable the occurrence of “preventable tragedies.” Pilots, truck drivers, third-shift machine operators, medical residents in hospitals–many people whose work puts them in a position to kill accidentally, or to be killed–are always under pressure to work impossibly long hours or according to highly irregular sleep schedules.
          Students all over Pakistan try to learn in school without having had enough sleep. Teenagers especially are at an age when their developing bodies require extra sleep. The few school districts that have moved the first class period from the typical 7:00 or 8:00 a.m. starting time to 9:30 a.m. have found students to be more alert and far more interested in classes.
          Ironically, at a time when their bodies need more sleep, teens are delighting in their newly-won freedom to stay up later, as well as in the increased number of interesting things they can do with those extra hours of waking time. Doubly ironic is the fact that their biorhythms also change during this stage, making it hard for them to fall asleep before 11:00 or midnight, even if they want to. No wonder early morning classes are so hard to wake up for.
          The mood swings and irritable behavior associated with adolescence may not always be cause by adolescence at all, since these are also key symptoms of sleep-deprivation. And even when the primary cause of such symptoms is adolescence, there is little doubt that they are exacerbated by sleep-deprivation.
          On average people sleep around five hours. Too many people (especially those in a position to decide how much the rest of us should work and what hours we should keep) consider sleep to be a luxury, or at the very least negotiable. It isn’t. It is as necessary to life and health as are food and water.

Sleep Deprivation

What is sleep?
Sleep is such a process that is crucially needed in order to provide rest to brain and body. During sleep, the brain in humans and other mammals undergoes a characteristic cycle of brain-wave activity that includes intervals of dreaming.

Sleep is very important, for body, mind and our general well-being

Sleep is usually divided into five stages. When you have passed through all five stages, you start over at stage one. One such sequence is called a sleep cycle. Here is a short description of those five stages of sleep:

Stage 1: Drowsiness : Your heart rate slows down, you start to breathe slower and your metabolism slows down. This stage usually lasts five to twenty minutes.
Stage 2: Light sleep: Brain activity is lower than during stage 1. This type of sleep constitutes about half of the total sleep time.
Stages 3 & 4: Deep sleep: During these stages the brain activity is at its lowest. The body produces almost no stress hormones but a lot of growth hormones.
Final stage: Dream sleep, REM sleep: During this stage the eyes are moving rapidly behind the eyelids, hence the name Rapid Eye Movement (REM). During this stage breathing gets faster, the heart beats faster and the blood pressure rises. The brain now works in a similar way as when we are awake. You can dream during all stages of sleep, but dreams are most common during this stage.

Sleep deprivation:
Sleep deprivation is an overall dearth of the all-important amount of sleep or in simple words, not having enough sleep. It is rather more common in teenagers these days. The major cause of it is taking high consumptions of caffeine which interrupts the circadian rhythms; a daily cycle of activity observed in many living organisms.

Sleep deprived people can also be called as Insomniacs. Insomnia is habitual sleeplessness; inability to sleep. Elaborating, I can say that it is defined as a difficulty falling asleep, frequent awakening during the night or a feeling of not getting enough rest. It can be chronic or acute. Acute insomnia is often due to external factors, for example a death in the family. Insomnia is often not an illness itself but it is a symptom of other problems including psychosocial conditions such as depression, anxiety.

Overall effects of sleep deprivation:
The effects of sleep deprivation are short-term and long-term as well.

  • Obesity
  • Early aging
  • Chronic memory loss
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Short term memory deterioration
  • Weakened immune system
  • Exhaustion
  • Mood swings
  • Diminished ability to come-up with plan and carry out activities
  • Depression
  • Heart diseases
  • Irritability
  • Hypertension
  • Slower reaction times
  • Pain

In some cases, it is said that death can take place due to the lack of sleep but history shows that a lot of people who suffered sleep deprivation; one for 475 days and another for 420 days straight, are still alive.

Treatment of sleep deprivation:
The only efficacious treatment for sleep deprivation is resuming a normal sleep pattern with enough sleep that you feel rested in the morning. Once you are getting good sleep again the symptoms of sleep deprivation will go away for sure in probably a short period of time.

A mild disorder!


Some anonymous writer once said “Nobody has a life free from hardships”.

Depression may be described as feeling sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps. It is felt by most of us even for short periods but it does! Depressed people see themselves totally different from others. Depression changes the way they see their lives and the people around. It is such a disorder that takes a healthy person to the most unhealthy being; to the dark gloomy deep tunnels of life where ones positive thinking level is demolished on-a-whole and that person starts thinking negatively or simply the person goes pessimistic.

Talking in general, depression is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interfere with everyday life for weeks or even longer. It can be major or clinical. People suffering from depression can’t imagine that any problem, situation or condition can be solved in a positive way; they see everything with more complexity even if it’s the most simple thing. Depression can be severe in many cases, there maybe psychotic symptoms. In order to overcome it psychoanalysis is done.

Symptoms of depression include:

  • Agitation, restlessness, and irritability
  • Becoming withdrawn or isolated
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dramatic change in appetite, often with weight gain or loss
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness, self-hate, and guilt
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed
  • Trouble sleeping or too much sleeping
  • Regrets

One of the most important things I have learned is constantly keeping things to yourself can lead to a more severe anxiety and depression. You should always have someone to share your life stories to lessen the depression.

Depression and Islam:
Here are some Islamic tips to get rid of depression.

  • Offer prayers five times a day. When you’ll offer prayer, your heart and brain, both will automatically find peace as prayers bring you closer to the God. You’ll feel contended, free of worries and sorrows. Your mind will relaxed from the distressful feelings.
  • Turn towards Allah and do keep in your mind that nothing can harm you without His consent. Do remember that this life is a test. If you’ll fight it courageously, Allah will definitely reward you in hereafter.
  • Try to do works for Islam like helping the poor and engage yourself in welfare activities.
  •  Recite Qur’an as there’s comfort in reading it.

Follow these tips, I guarantee you 100% that depression will vanish away soon as I myself have experienced these and Alhumdulillah have found peace!

“Truly, it is by the Remembrance of Allah that hearts find rest.” [Qur’an, 13.28]

One more soda?

This is what happens to your body within one hour of drinking a can of soda.

10 minutes: 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system, which is 100 percent of your recommended daily intake. You’d normally vomit from such an intake, but the phosphoric acid cuts the flavor.

20 minutes: Your blood sugar skyrockets. Your pancreas attempts to maximize insulin production in order to turn high levels of sugar into fat.

40 minutes: As your body finishes absorbing the caffeine, your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, and your liver pumps more sugar into the bloodstream. Adenosine receptors in your brain are blocked preventing you from feeling how tired you may actually be.

45 minutes: Your body increases dopamine production, causing you to feel pleasure and adding to the addictiveness of the beverage. This physical neuro response works the same way as it would if we were consuming heroin.

60 minutes: The phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium and zinc in your lower intestine, which boosts your metabolism a bit further. High doses of sugar and artificial sweeteners compound this effect, increasing the urinary excretion of calcium. The caffeine’s diuretic properties come into play. (You have to GO!) Your body will eliminate the bonded calcium, magnesium and zinc that was otherwise heading to your bones. And you will also flush out the sodium, electrolytes and water. Your body has eliminated the water that was in the soda. And in the process it was infused with nutrients and minerals your body would have otherwise used to hydrate your system or build body cells, bones, teeth.

The sugar crash begins. You may become irritable and/or sluggish. You start feeling like crap. Time to grab another?