We’ve all been there: Your boss yells at you, your car breaks down, you stub your toe, and suddenly, you’re in the middle of a complete meltdown. But before you tell yourself to buck up, check out these surprising ways your crying jag is actually, well, something to feel good about.

It can relieve stress

Crying removes manganese (a mood-altering mineral) from the body, and is 30 times greater in tears than in blood, according to one prominent tear researcher, William Frey, biochemist and author of Crying: The Mystery of Tears. Of course, there are better ways to de-stress without making yourself cry, but if you find yourself tearing up, just go with it.

It helps strengthen relationships

Ever wonder why those late-night sobfests with your girlfriends generally end in proclamations of love for one another? Crying enhances attachments and friendships when done behind closed doors, according to an analysis published in Evolutionary Psychology by evolutionary biologist Oren Hasson. Hasson analyzed tears in various emotional and social circumstances and found that crying is an evolutionary response to draw compassion and support from people around you.

It can boost your mood

It’s like your mom always said: Sometimes, you just need a good cry. Studies have found that people actually feel happier, both physically and physiologically, after shedding some tears. Why? Researchers believe that the act of crying flushed built-up chemicals from our systems, while the mental release of emotions can help us cope with painful situations.