Can Gratitude Make You Cry? What, Why & How

Gratitude in moments of both happiness and grief makes you cry. Sometimes these moments are so overwhelming that they bring tears to your eyes. Weeping with gratitude can bring optimism in chaotic times.

In fact, research has shown that gratitude can have a number of different effects on our emotions and behaviors. For instance, gratitude has been linked to increased levels of happiness and life satisfaction, as well as better physical health. Additionally, gratitude has been shown to increase helpfulness and reduce aggression.

Gratitude & Crying – What Does the Study Say?

Interestingly, gratitude may also be associated with crying. In a study of over 1,000 participants, researchers found that those who reported higher levels of gratitude were also more likely to report crying episodes in the past week. The participants who reported the most crying were nearly twice as likely to also report higher levels of gratitude.

While the relationship between gratitude and crying is not fully understood, it is clear that both emotions can lead to positive outcomes. Gratitude can improve our well-being in a number of ways, and crying can be cathartic and help us release pent-up emotions. If you find yourself feeling grateful or overwhelmed with emotion, don’t be afraid to let the tears flow.

4 Reasons Why Gratitude Makes Us Cry

So why does gratitude make us cry? One theory is that tears of gratitude are a way to release the built-up emotion of dopamine. When we experience an overwhelming feeling of gratitude, our brain may release dopamine faster than it can be metabolized, leading to tears.

We also cry with gratitude when fear is relieved, and we tend to feel thankful for such a blessing coming our way. Over-sentimental people also weep when they are appreciated.

There are several theories about why gratitude may have these effects on our psychological well-being.

One theory is that gratitude helps us to refocus our attention on the positive aspects of our lives, rather than dwelling on the negative. This “positive refocusing” may help us to see our lives in a more optimistic way, which can lead to increased happiness.

Another theory is that gratitude helps us to feel more connected to others. When we feel grateful for the kindness or help that someone has given us, we may be more likely to reciprocate these behaviors towards others (e.g., by being kind or helpful ourselves). This sense of connection can lead to increased happiness and satisfaction with our social relationships.

Crying with gratitude involves four powerful emotions, i.e., excessive grief, joy, fear, and appreciation. These fundamental emotions erupt spontaneously, but we can handle them to become a well-balanced personality.

Weeping Man

The Neuroscience of Gratitude

Gratitude is a universal emotion that we all feel, but what exactly is it? And why do we feel it?

Gratitude is an emotion that occurs when we perceive that we have received a benefit. It is associated with positive feelings such as happiness, joy, love, and admiration.

The neuroscience of gratitude has shown that it is associated with increased levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is known as the “feel good” neurotransmitter because it helps to regulate our mood and emotions.

Gratitude has also been shown to reduce stress and improve our immune system. Additionally, gratitude has been linked to better sleep and overall improved physical health.

4 Ways to Manage Crying over Appreciation

Lonely, isolated, and sentimental people cry with gratitude when someone praises them or compliments them. It is a negative attitude that must be dealt with.

Below are some of the impactful ways to fight getting tearful when they are appreciated:

1. Avoid Manipulation

Over-emotional people burst into tears when even someone pays a dubious compliment to them. They do not realize the genuine praise and live in a fool’s paradise. Such an attitude not only makes them a laughingstock but also, they are also manipulated and exploited by others.

So, be careful while losing your precious tears to some doubtful acknowledgments. Always think over the praising words and the tone to act sensibly.

2. Enhance Self-Worth

Weeping before others when they praise you reflects your low self-esteem. Never belittle yourself before others just because you want someone to share your gratitude.

It will lessen your good reputation in society making you a worthless person. Self-respect is an innate instinct, but your passivity can add to your worries.

More advantages of having self-esteem include:

  • Make you respectable in society
  • Enhances confidence
  • More sincere
  • Builds trust
  • Improved self-realization
  • Better judgment
  • Know weak points and overcome it
  • Respond better to opponents

3. Overcome Sentimentality

Don’t project your self-image as a bundle of emotions and sentiments by weeping in the public. It will portray you as an emotional fool whom people tend to avoid.

In today’s fast world, no one has time to listen to your melodramatic tears. So, keep up your dignity and refrain from being over-sentimental and show your strong side.

A man expressing his Foolish Cries Aloud

4. Stop Being Starved for Affection

Keep in mind that everyone has to deal with their troubles, conflicts, and problems themselves. It is a sign of maturity when you do not cry over the routine affection statements by others. Crying with gratitude over the appreciation of others will not add to your worth, but it will result in demeaning yourself.

4 Ways to Manage Grief with Gratitude

It is an undeniable fact that miseries are unavoidable and that we feel vulnerable to misfortunes and grief. Below are some of the important strategies that will help you fight grief with the help of gratitude:

1.      Bring Catharsis Through Crying

Instead of making us weak, crying brings catharsis to our negative emotions and cleanses us from within. It makes us aware of our emotions and fills us with the strength of accepting them. It instills courage in us to change our lives into positive ones.

2.      Find Courage in Crisis

Anxiety with gratitude enables us to be grateful for the things we still enjoy. For instance, the person who just got retired from his job, feeling thankful for his family and colleagues, who supported him through thick and thin, can lessen the pain.

It will enable him to accept the life of retirement and gain the motivation to search for other activities to create meaning in his future life. Melody Beattie aptly says:

         “Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

Following are a few more benefits of finding resilience in tough circumstances:

  • Make us mentally strong
  • Polish our skills
  • Produce balance in our personality
  • Determination
  • Groom our character
  • Shape our destiny
  • Overcome challenges
  • Make a mark in life

3.      Find a Consultancy

If all of the managing methods fail, seek professional help from a therapist, because sometimes self-help doesn’t work, and you need a consultant. Research shows that people who cultivate the habit of gratitude are more willing to take part in counseling to cope with their depression. It helps them get rid of anxiety and depressive thoughts.

4.      Keep Reminding the Value of Gratitude

Practice gratitude daily and engage yourself with projects like keeping a gratitude jar or a journal to record your blessings in life. Register one bounty every day that includes your family, good health, sincere friends, your gifts, and achievements.

It will make you feel more optimistic and gifted. The grief may still trouble your heart, but it will give you the strength to overcome it.

4 Ways to Manage Joy with Gratitude

Sometimes we cry out of sheer joy when an unexpected incident happens making us grateful for the end of the trouble. Below are some of the effective strategies to cultivate happiness with gratitude.

1. Realize Your Aptness for Joy

When you accept that you are worthy of joy, the feelings of gratitude become more positive. Remind yourself time and again with humility that you deserved this joyful moment. It will result in tears of gratitude more cathartic and appealing.

2. Acknowledge You Are Unique

Refrain from comparing yourself with others. Accept that you have the potential and capabilities that make you stand out from others. Such a realization will make your joyful tears with gratitude more individualistic and distinctive.

More benefits of accepting your uniqueness and individuality include:

  • Add vitality to life
  • The impetus to prove yourself
  • Make us composed and sensitive
  • Enjoy your personal abilities
  • Produce a positive meaning to life
  • Make you recognizable
  • Add to the optimistic approach
  • Overall happiness
A Different and Unique figure among the three

3. Meditate

Meditation can make you not get carried away by the exhilarating emotions of joyful gratitude. It will lead you to focus on the moments of gratefulness and practice a deep inhale to calm your euphoric sensations and be mindful of the blessings in a balanced way.

4. Relish Tearful Joy 

Experiencing tears in moments of gratitude should be enjoyed fully. It does not mean you lose your sanity but crying with gratitude will make you relaxed and composed as your whole being is rejuvenated.

Tragedy comes with tears, but happiness can also make you tearful. The difference is the feeling of gratitude over the gifts and blessings showered upon you. Marcus Aurelius rightly says:

  “What a precious privilege it is to be alive, to breathe, to think, to enjoy loving.”

4 Outcomes of Relief of Fear with Gratitude

People who are emotionally weak experience overwhelming emotions of gratitude and break into tears when the fear is lifted. Below are some of the most beneficial methods to tackle relief from horrible incidents:

1. Purification of Soul

When a person confronts a happy turnaround of events, tears naturally come into his eyes out of gratitude. It helps him achieve the catharsis of the emotions of fear. His whole existence seems purified after weeping over the sudden bounties and triumphs.

Below are some of the crucial features of the purification of our soul:

  • Releases tension
  • Make us relaxed
  • Provide consolation
  • Enlarges our heart
  • Broaden our horizon of thinking
  • Overcome negativity
  • Add to a cool, calm, and composed attitude
  • A better understanding of life
A Weeping Man feeling Relieved

2. Leads to Happiness

A grateful person crying over the relief from terror attains happiness and joy. It breathes new life and vitality into him.

This kind of pure mirth awakens positive feelings in his heart that have a direct impact on his whole life. It reflects his sensitivity and softness of heart that helps him gain future bounties.

3. Satisfaction

Contentment is the sign of a thankful person who weeps over the alleviation of troubles and misfortunes to find consolation. He is always satisfied with what he gains, rather than what he lost.

It infuses a constructive spirit in him making him a well-balanced and happy person. Oscar Wild sums up the value of gratification in this exquisite line:

         “If you don’t get everything you want, think of the things you don’t get that you don’t want.”

4. Lives in the Present

After getting relief from a sad, depressing, or adverse situation, a weeping grateful person does not mourn the tortures, ailments, and sufferings of his previous life. Instead, he enjoys the present happy moment. It makes him more contented, peaceful, and optimistic. Who can better explain the taste of living in the immediate than Epicurus:

         “Remember that what you now have was among the things you only hoped for.”



Crying with gratitude can both be positive and negative. It is effective in terms that it cleanses you from within and helps you manage strength in grief.

Moreover, weeping makes you enjoy happiness, optimism, and tranquility. But the negative side is that open crying with gratitude over appreciation makes a person absurd and foolish. So, do cry but with discretion!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does feeling gratitude make me cry?

Feeling gratitude can make you cry because it is a powerful emotion. Gratitude is often associated with intense feelings of joy, appreciation, and humility that can be overwhelming at the moment.

It is a reminder that we have so much to be thankful for in our lives and it can bring about an emotional response as we recognize how fortunate we are.

Gratitude can also bring up feelings of sadness or loss, as we become aware of what is missing from our lives.

Crying in gratitude can be a way to honor and appreciate the people, things, and experiences that have enriched our lives. It is a physical expression of how deeply moved we are by our blessings.

Do people cry when they are grateful?

Yes, people can and do cry when they are feeling grateful. Crying is a way of expressing emotion, and gratitude is a strong emotion.

Experiencing moments of joy, appreciation, or humility that come with feeling grateful can be overwhelming, prompting an emotional response such as tears.

For some people, crying in gratitude can be a way to honor and appreciate the people, things, and experiences that have enriched their lives.

Crying can be an emotional release when feeling grateful, allowing individuals to fully express their appreciation.

What are the 3 Consequences of gratitude?

1. Improved Mental Health

2. Increased Positive Attitudes and Behaviors

3. Enhanced Resiliency

What is emotional gratitude?

Emotional gratitude is a state of being characterized by feelings of appreciation and thankfulness. It involves deeply recognizing the blessings in your life, both large and small, and feeling genuine appreciation for them.

Unlike momentary gratitude which focuses more on specific acts that warrant thanks, emotional gratitude is a more sustained attitude.

Emotional gratitude involves regularly reflecting on and appreciating the people, experiences, and things that add value to your life. It is associated with a variety of positive mental health benefits such as increased happiness and satisfaction.

What is toxic gratitude?

Toxic gratitude is an unhealthy attitude of feeling obliged to be thankful for something, even if it causes emotional pain or distress. It involves emotionally repressing feelings of anger and resentment in order to feign appreciation for things that are not beneficial to you.

Toxic gratitude can create a sense of obligation, where individuals feel like they must express thanks out of a sense of duty, rather than genuine appreciation.

It can lead to feelings of powerlessness, resentment, and depression over time. Individuals who experience toxic gratitude often feel like they lack control and autonomy in their lives.

What gratitude does do to the brain?

Research suggests that gratitude can have a positive effect on the brain. It is associated with increased production of dopamine and serotonin, two neurotransmitters that are essential for regulating mood, energy, pleasure, and reward.

Experiencing feelings of gratitude can also stimulate areas of the brain involved in memory, empathy, and compassion.

Studies have shown that these neurological changes can lead to an improved sense of well-being and happiness, as well as a decreased risk or severity of depression. Gratitude has even been linked to improved sleep quality and physical health benefits.

How long do the effects of gratitude last?

The effects of gratitude can vary from person to person and depend on the individual’s ability to recognize and appreciate their blessings.

In general, the effects of gratitude tend to persist over time and can be sustained through daily practices such as journaling, meditating, or expressing appreciation for others.

What hormones are released during gratitude?

When experiencing gratitude, the body releases a variety of hormones that are associated with positive emotions such as pleasure and contentment. These hormones include dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins.

Dopamine is associated with feelings of pleasure and reward, while serotonin promotes positive moods and helps regulate appetite and sleep.

Oxytocin is known as the “love hormone” and is connected to feeling close bonds with others, while endorphins are responsible for the “runner’s high” and increased pain tolerance. Together, these hormones create a sense of well-being and happiness.

How can gratitude be negative?

Although gratitude is often thought of as a positive emotion, it can sometimes have negative consequences. Overdoing gratitude or feel compelled to express appreciation for things that are not beneficial to you can lead to feelings of resentment and powerlessness.

Additionally, experiencing toxic gratitude can make individuals feel like they must continually be thankful, even if they are not receiving any benefit or reciprocation in return.

This can lead to feelings of burnout and fatigue as individuals struggle to keep up the charade of gratitude.

For this reason, it is important to practice healthy forms of gratitude that recognize and appreciate your blessings without feeling overly obligated.

Can you be overwhelmed with gratitude?

Yes, it is possible to become overwhelmed with gratitude. This can occur when individuals feel like they have too much to be thankful for and can’t express their appreciation adequately.

In these cases, it is important to take time for yourself and reflect on what you are grateful for without feeling obligated to share it with others.

Additionally, it can help to remember that you don’t need to express your gratitude constantly in order for it to be meaningful. Instead, it’s important to take time for yourself and recognize your blessings in a way that feels authentic and genuine.

What is the difference between thankful and gratitude?

The difference between being thankful and experiencing gratitude comes down to the level of emotion involved. Being thankful implies a basic appreciation for something, while gratitude implies a deeper emotional connection and appreciation.

Gratitude involves feelings of joy, contentment, and satisfaction while being thankful is more of an acknowledgment or appreciation.

Gratitude is a more powerful emotion and has been linked to improved mental and physical health benefits, while being thankful may not have the same effects.

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