As we age, we tend to become more sentimental about our lives. In fact, men reportedly cry more frequently at 60 than they do at 30. But, are those tears driven by physiological changes or psychological ones? Learn more.
A recent article from Psychology Today describes how crying is a “learned behavior” in life. Because society typically sees men as “tough” and “strong,” a man is looked down on when he cries, and he’s told not to, whereas a woman would be consoled. So, men reserve tears for a major loss in their life. But, research shoes that it’s hard to be stoic as men get older.
Age brings with it hormonal changes that influence crying, as well as less concern about what others think. The good news is that crying provides emotional release, and depending on the circumstances, it can actually improve mood and reduce tension.
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Here’s a list of reasons why older men cry more than they’re used to:
1. Men “let their guard down” as they age
According to a 2010 New York Times article, men simply feel more comfortable crying in front of others as they get older, and not as concerned about their spot on the “macho scale.”
2. Hormonal changes
As men reach middle age, their testosterone levels decline. Frustrating or sad situations that might have driven a man to anger in the past may now move him to tears.
3. Previous trauma
Dwelling on past emotional pain can incite sad feelings for both women and men. Plus, it can produce even more hurt, building up a well of emotions to release.
4. Depression, anxiety or mental illness due to aging
Getting older, in and of itself, can produce bouts of depression as seniors grapple with the notion of end-of-life. Experiencing the loss of friends and loved ones only makes matters worse. Seniors with mental illness may also show signs of depression or experience mood changes that cause them to cry more easily.
5. Social isolation
Living alone can lead to feelings of social isolation. Seniors who no longer drive may be giving up social outings and other opportunities to connect with people. As those feelings of isolation endure, seniors may lose their sense of purpose.
6. Health issues and medications
Stroke, heart disease, cancer and other health conditions can lead to depression. Unfortunately, some medications intended to fight these health issues can worsen depressive symptoms. These include certain blood pressure medicines (e.g., clonidine), high-cholesterol drugs (e.g., Lipitor and Zocor), painkillers, other arthritis drugs and some heart medications.
Whether it’s out of their control or something they’re no longer apprehensive about, men cry more as they get older.
Crying can be therapeutic. But it can also signal a physical or mental health issue.
Seniors experiencing depression or signs of other health conditions should talk to their doctor.
Do you know senior men who cry more now than when they were younger? Please share your story in the comments below.