Stress, anxiety, and sad movies are obvious triggers for waterworks. But crying can have more unsuspecting prompts too.
Sometimes you know you're going to cry (The Fault in Our Stars, anyone?), but there are other times when you're just doing your thing and—wham!—you're sobbing in the middle of the gym because... endorphins? Yet, we've all been there, someplace completely weird, ambushed by a surprise weepfest. One woman explained it like this to TIME: “I can’t cry at work. I’m not emotionally distraught enough to cry in the shower. I can’t just burst into tears in front of my husband. So, what does that leave you with?” It leaves you with these:
1. Child's Pose in yoga. With descriptions like "hip opener" and "heart opener" it's no surprise that some poses also seem to be tear duct openers. Ask any yoga teacher and they'll tell you there are plenty of classes where Savasana is just as full of sniffles as it is deep breathing.
2. Running through the train station. Penn station in the heart of NYC is a bustling place. Even as its teeming with humanity (and all the smells and bodily fluids that go with them), it's hard for travelers to miss the sweeping elegance of the light-filled atria. Just think of all the lives that went into building it and all the lives that have gone through it! And now you're going through it! We're all going through it together! Pushing and shoving! Hold me.
3. Really great sex. Scientists will give you lots of talk about oxytocin being a "bonding hormone" and the rush of endorphins and skin-to-skin contact but really, do you need to explain why you get a little misty after a mind-blowing orgasm? Lovers are great for holding you and wiping away tears! (We won't talk about crying after terrible sex. That's a totally different article.)
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4. Lying naked on the massage table. Some people speculate it's because we're starved for human touch in our tech-heavy society. Others think that working out your muscular kinks unblocks the kinks in your chi. Whatever the reason, sniffling, crying, weeping and even sobbing during a massage is common. Maybe there's another reason they're called massage therapists.
5. Standing in line at the the DMV. Thanks to the magic of bureaucracy, everyone has to make the trek to the Department of Motor Vehicles at one point or another (at least if you want to drive) which is why you'd think the government would work harder to make it a pleasant experience. Yet it is so maddeningly awful that it can make you feel almost like comrades-in-arms with your fellow citizens. And there's nothing like going through proverbial battle with strangers who will hold your place in line while you pee to make you tear up.
6. Watching a diaper commercial. Squishy bottoms. Squishy wishy little baby bottoms crawling and scooting and learning to walk and (oops!) falling. Even if you don't have kids, it's hard to be immune to the deluge of cuteness. Add a puppy and we're all goners.
7. Pumping to the beat at SoulCycle. There's just something about moving in perfect rhythm with a room full of sweaty strangers that can bring tears to a girl's eyes. It's like we're all there for each other, moving toward a common goal, killing ourselves to save ourselves. It's all very existential. Or maybe it's just because it's dark and no one can hear you wailing over the electronic dance music.
8. Acupuncture. Getting stuck with dozens of needles has nothing to do with why you find yourself holding back sobs on the acupuncture table (okay, maybe a little bit), but rather acupuncturists say that there are pressure points that release pent-up emotion. (Now if only they could avoid the ex-boyfriend pressure point.)
9. Singing the National Anthem. Oh say can you see...the tears in my eyes? Add the Star Spangled Banner to a parade of veterans and you might as well throw boxes of tissues from the float instead of candy.
10. Listening to holiday music. It's no surprise that some festive tunes can make us misty-eyed remembering childhood celebrations or long-lost loved ones, but once you've sprouted sprinklers singing along to "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas," it might be time to examine why.
11. The start of a race. The training, the blood, sweat, and tears—all to get to this one spot and this one moment in time! Take all that possibility and add a dose of caffeine-fueled endorphins and you have the perfect recipe for a sniffling starting gun. But hey, at least it'll keep your mind off your aching legs.
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12. The finish line of a race. See above, but a hundred times better because you really just did this.
13. Surprise military family reunions. We dare you to watch this whole video and not shed a single tear. If that one didn't get you, try this one with doggies welcoming back their soldiers.
14. Humming "Let it Go". Whether you're talking to your therapist or working out some stuff in yoga, it's common to hear someone tell you to just "let it go." And it turns out, we all have plenty of stuff we need to let go and we're just waiting for permission to get rid of it. Even better, think of a lonely Norwegian ice princess learning to love herself in an ice castle. (I totally bawled through that movie. I'll admit it.)
15. The Olympics. Every two years the whole world comes together to celebrate the fastest, strongest, and brightest among us—and then to cry happy tears all over the place. There might also be sports involved.
16. Reading children's books. Even if you don't have children, you'll still sob reading I Love You Forever because you definitely have a mom. (And if you have to read it out loud to your own kid, forget it.) But it's not just this one that's a sob fest. We've seen grown adults lose it over The Velveteen Rabbit, The Snowy Day, and even Goodnight Moon.
17. The doctor's office. Not only do you have to spill your deepest secrets to your doc, it's the one place where someone asks you about your problems and actually wants to hear your answers. Besides, paper robes just make everyone feel vulnerable, right?
18. Watching people help a stranger. Remember when San Francisco transformed into Gotham for "Batman Boy", a small child dying of Leukemia? Or that time when you left your purse in the bathroom at Starbucks and someone found you and gave it back with nothing missing? If watching people show kindness to a stranger for no reason other than sometimes the world is an awesome place doesn't punch you in the tear ducts, then we don't know what will, frankly.
19. Bagpipes. Amazing Grace. 'Nuff said.