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WITH two beautiful children, a loving husband, a Hollywood career and great looks, you wouldn't think Gwyneth Paltrow had much to cry about. But the actress, 40, admits she regularly bawls her eyes out.

"I cry all the time," she said. "I cried half an hour ago. I'm a crybaby. Maybe out of sadness or uncertainty."

Far from being a negative characteristic, Gwyneth could be on to something. Studies reveal those of us who have a cry when we feel stressed or upset tend to be healthier than those who bottle it up. A study from the University of Minnesota found crying lifts the mood of 88.8 per cent of people.

Researchers believe it can also help to heal us, boost our immunity and reduce anger and stress levels.

"We feel better after crying because we are literally crying it out," said Professor William Frey, who worked on the study. "Chemicals that build up during emotional stress may be removed in our tears.

"Unalleviated stress can increase risk of heart attack and damage certain areas of our brain, so the human ability to cry has a survival value."

Tears shed because we're unhappy, rather than in pain, have higher levels of manganese and potassium. Manganese helps lower bad cholesterol and potassium helps control high blood pressure.

Emotional tears also contain a hormone called prolactin, which helps reduce stress and boosts the immune system.

When we cry, our breathing deepens, which also helps lower stress by reducing production of the stress hormone cortisol that's racing through our bodies.

"I think crying is a very good idea for a variety of reasons," said Professor Cary Cooper, a stress expert from Lancaster University. "It's an in-built reaction to hurt, emotional or physical."

It's also a signal to others that we need help. "If you show tears, other people will probably comfort us," he added. "The worst thing you can do is stifle a cry."


ACTRESS J Gwyneth Paltrow often lets out her emotions
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 6, 2012
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