Crying – Why it’s good for you

Sometimes a good cry can cure what a good laugh can’t

– Anonymous

For long, I have prided myself on not crying easily. There has been times when a particularly emotional situation or movie brought up tears, to my acute embarrassment. And I would always try to pass it off as “something flew into my eyes”. Admitting that I am crying, even to my closest friends, made me feel vulnerable. I felt crying made me weak. After all our society and culture applauds strength.So we push back our tears, shut down our emotions and put on a brave face.

But there are times when we have to give in to those tears.

Have you ever had a huge loss or disappointment, and felt yourself go completely cold inside? You know you should be crying, but the tears just won’t come. You feel like you are being pressed under a huge weight, but cannot find release.

How do you feel after a good cry?

The first thing I feel is a sense of relief. My heart feels lighter, like the weight has been taken off . My problems are still there, but somehow I feel they are more manageable. Now, if you have people sharing this highly personal release of emotions, its draws you closer. It makes us realize ,we are not facing this world alone. It helps us acknowledge the feelings we have.

We have all heard this at least once in our lifetime. “Stop crying, crying doesn’t solve anything”. I disagree. I say, cry, because that makes you stronger to solve the things that needs to be solved. Like the phoenix rises from the ashes, you rise from your tears more stronger and and wiser than ever.

The benefits of crying has been acknowledged both culturally and scientifically. Culturally, people have tried to include crying into their lifestyle and rituals.

Paid mourners are an ancient tradition and is found in many societies like, India, China, South Africa and many more. These “criers”, cry loudly and dramatically, sometimes beating their chest and head, in funerals. Some cry along with sad songs.

In recent times, something called “Rui- Katsu” (meaning “tear seeking”) has become a social phenomenon in the cities of Japan. People come together , watch tear-jerking movies and cry.

Why are these rituals in place?

  • They provide a supportive and safe place for people to express their grief.
  • Makes it easier for people, who struggle to express their emotions due to cultural or personal reasons, to cry.
  • They validate the act and say it is OK to cry.

Judith Orloff, author of the book “Emotional Freedom: Liberate yourself from negative emotions and transform your life”, says “It is very primal to cry in a group.

Now, all of us know from experience, how we feel after a good cry. But it never hurts to validate it with scientific studies. There are numerous studies conducted on crying and tears, social and emotional impacts of crying.

Dr.William H. Fry II, author of “Crying: The mystery of tears”, has spent 20 years studying crying and tears. He says, “Crying is not only a human response to sorrow and frustration, it’s also a healthy one“.

Crying is a great practice to stay mentally healthy, and here is what research shows.

  • Releases stress by releasing stress hormones through tears.
  • Provides a cathartic experience.
  • Lowers blood pressure.
  • There is a build -up of cortisol during times of emotional turmoil. This can cause our health to deteriorate.
  • Releases manganese through tears. Elevated manganese levels are associated with anxiety, irritability and aggression.
  • Activates the parasympathetic nervous system and restores the body to a state of balance.

I believe strong people cry and crying makes us stronger.

So what about you? Do you think crying makes you weak? It’s for the men out there too. With all the taboo surrounding men crying. What do you think? Leave me a comment. I love to hear from you.

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