“I cry very easily. It can be a movie, a phone conversation; sunset–tears are words waiting to be written.” – Paulo Coelho
Crying is a very self-soothing experience. So the next time you find yourself holding back tears, please consider just letting it out. Do switch on a sappy romcom, a sad song, or even a hilarious movie! Let yourself relax and fully embrace your emotions. Feel free to let the tears roll down your cheeks (okay: a tissue paper for a less dramatic effect!). Be reminded that even as those tears flow, you are still very strong. When we begin to open up and experience our emotions completely, there may be a chance of reopening old wounds which is a part of the healing process of suppressed emotions. So do not worry!
While crying has many benefits, it is important to monitor you and your loved ones closely. If you notice crying episodes persist longer than usual or take place frequently such that it interferes with your daily activities, it could be a sign that you, or your loved one is in distress, pain and anguish. If you do notice that you or someone you know starts to have suicidal thoughts and feelings, do turn to a trusted friend, an adult or a mental health professional.
Now let’s get back to how crying can help for the better! We all cried a lot when we were babies. Now that we’re adults, many of us often try to hold back our tears with the notion that crying particularly at work or in public is often seen as a sign of weakness, or as something to be ashamed of! But is it so? Or is the very act of shedding tears actually quite healthy?
Shedding tears can be good for your health especially in the right setting. Having a good cry can sometimes be just what the doctor ordered! In fact, some psychologists do suggest that we may be doing ourselves a disservice by not tearing up regularly. Letting down one’s guard and one’s defences once a while and considering crying can be a very positive, healthy thing! The same thing for instance happens when you watch a movie and it touches you and you cry. That is the essential process of opening into yourself it’s like a lock and key!
Crying releases stress, and is therefore a great practice when it comes to staying mentally healthy! Emotional tears contain more mood-regulating manganese. Stress tightens muscles and heightens tension, so when you cry you do release some of that! Crying activates the parasympathetic nervous system and restores the body back to a state of balance!
Crying is all right in its way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do. ― C.S. Lewis
So let us look at some of the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of crying that will make you feel better about shedding a few tears now and again:
- It helps release stress.
If you find yourself feeling a sense of relief after a good cry, there is a scientific explanation for that. Stress hormones are found in tears, and crying literally releases pent-up emotional stress.
- It is a sign that a pent up emotion is being let out.
Crying is often therapeutic and beneficial when people are accessing an emotion that they have not felt safe sharing or that they have not wanted to face the same head-on. Whether you’re dealing with the loss of a loved one or are just stressed about switching jobs; it’s important to let your tears flow freely. One of the true benefits of crying is about accepting how you are feeling and being okay with it.
- It helps your body bounce back from trauma.
Your emotions and in turn your hormones are very intrinsically connected! Emotional reactions to events send hormones coursing through your body, and crying is your body’s and mind’s way to re-balance after a physical or emotional shock.
- It signals to others that you need support.
When a person notices another person tearing up, their natural reaction is to run and comfort the soul in need! Even if the person crying doesn’t realize it, they are teary because that’s what they wanted. Key attachment behaviour intended to elicit care and comfort from close others throughout life. At the end of the day, the best type of comfort comes in the form of human touch, and even our bodies subconsciously understand the same.
- It soothes physical pain.
Don’t be ashamed about crying when you break a bone or burn your hand! When you cry, the body releases feel-good hormones such as oxytocin that increases pain tolerance and bring about a sense of serenity and both of these are certainly a huge help when it comes to overcoming pain.
- It is cleansing.
Under the correct circumstances, a good cry is cleansing and leaves you feeling lighter and more able to cope. However, you have to train yourself to be able to spot the difference between a healthy cry and an unhealthy one! While a good cry is very soothing, an unhealthy cry stemming from self-pity can lead you into blaming others for your problems without finding out how to handle the issues you’re faced with!
- It allows you to be happy!
We are meant to handle all emotions, not just the positive ones. Allowing yourself to be sad and cry means you are not numbing those emotions that you perceive as the negative ones. When we numb selective emotions, we are actually numbing all of them! Allowing yourself to cry will allow for you to experience joy, happiness, and all of the other emotions we are meant to experience.
- It’s the fastest way to move on.
After a significant loss like the death of a loved one or a bad breakup some people choose to be angry and others choose to be sad! Those who cry the pain away may be able to heal faster. Do not waste time in resentment and anger it is very self-destructive. Everyone needs to know how to grieve and how to be sad in order to get over difficult events. There are a certain number of tears you must cry to let go, and getting on with crying is the fastest way to do so!
- It’s a natural part of the healing process.
Allowing the opportunity to feel your feelings, to let the feelings out, and to experience the benefits of a release! When you let the tears flow, often you can let the feelings go away, too.
- It alters your mood.
Crying releases feel-good hormones and helps the body and mind return to normal, so it’s a natural way to alter your mood. It is found that crying can make you feel more stable. People may be restoring emotional equilibrium with these expressions. People who do this seem to recover far better from strong emotions.
- It clears out our nasal passage.
When many people cry, they do clog up their nasal passages and therefore, have to clear them out, with a whole box of tissues maybe! It may be messy, but it’s actually quite beneficial as blowing your nose clears the nasal passage and rids out foreign substances.
- It helps you sleep more soundly.
Though it may sound cruel to some parents, studies have shown that letting babies cry can actually help them sleep better and for longer periods of time. Though it’s still unknown whether crying has the same sleep-inducing effect on adults, it’s not a stretch to draw that conclusion, considering the calming and stress-relieving effects of crying!
No matter what you’re going through, be strong and deal with it. Have a good cry if you need to!
“Crying is cleansing. There’s a reason for tears, happiness or sadness.” – Dionne Warwick