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Why Crying is a Good Thing

by Jamie Kennedy on Wednesday 21 August 2019

 

It’s true: most people think of crying as a bad thing. Whether that notion has been passed on from childhood or later, we see crying as a sign of weakness, or a sign that a person is depressed. But, we’re cutting the act of crying short if we view it only as a negative thing. 

In fact, putting so much negativity on it can actually make us dislike the experience even more. It is our own perception that affects the way we feel about the act of crying. We’re here to change that. To help you realise that crying isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it could be said that crying is in fact, a very good thing. 

 

Let’s start with what crying is. Why do we cry? What triggers this (somewhat) uncontrollable act and, why does it seem to happen at some pretty inconvenient times? You know, like that time you were trying to hold it together during a breakup or, when you stubbed your toe on the corner of your child’s bed when putting them down for a nap? It complicates things even more knowing that sometimes tears come from absolute joy, with no amount of sadness present. 

It turns out that crying is actually a highly evolved behaviour. In fact, most mammal’s eyes benefit from tears, but only humans cry from elevated states of emotion. There are 3 types of crying that humans produce: 

= EMOTIONAL: In response to a range of emotions.

= BASAL: Protein-rich antibacterial liquid that keeps the eye moist consistently

= REFLEX: Caused by irritants in the air, the tears flush these out and protect the eye

It’s interesting to note that emotional tears contain a higher level of stress hormones and contain manganese (a mood-regulator) compared to the other types of crying. Crying also triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, which restores the body’s balance. 

You might be surprised to learn that it’s not unusual to cry. One study showed that on average monthly women cry 3.5 times and men cry 1.9 times. Some cultures believe in crying so much, they have have “crying clubs”, where people come together to watch tearjerker movies and cry. Why? Because tears help reduce stress.

In fact, research indicates that 85% of women and 73% percent men indicated they felt less sad and angry after crying. 

Now that we understand what crying is, let’s look at specific ways that crying is a good thing.

TEARS HAVE SUPERPOWERS

It’s true. Crying has the ability to remove toxins from the body. When we are stressed, harmful chemicals such as cortisol build in the body. And crying releases it! Crying has also been found to lower blood pressure, which can help prevent heart and blood-related illnesses such as stroke and heart failure.

CRYING MEANS YOU CARE

This one may seem obvious but, many people forget that crying means you care. It means that are you capable of love and connection to something outside of yourself. Although it’s awful to feel a missing void of love and connection (leading to crying), the ultimate truth is that you wouldn’t be crying if you didn’t have the ability to love and feel connection. And that is a beautiful thing.

As we mentioned, humans are the only mammal who cry from emotional stress, which also motivates those around us to empathize and therefore prompt sympathy, in order to draw individuals closer to one another.

Next time you are crying from loss, try to gift yourself with the thought of, “How lucky am I, to know what love and connection is, and that I will soon experience it again. Even if I don’t feel that way right now.”

CRYING MAKES YOU FEEL BETTER AFTER

We’ve all been there. When you’re in the middle of crying, it doesn’t feel great. But after, don’t you feel a sense of calm? As if you’ve released all the emotion leaving you with a sense of clarity. The act of crying will make you focus on breath, and that brings you into the present moment. When you focus on the present, there is no room for worry of the past or future.

Plus, those breaths are also taking in colder air and cooling the brain. It turns out a cooler brain is better for your body than a warm brain, causing your mood to lift, as well.

There you go! Some good reasons why it’s time to give tears a break from the negativity. When you give yourself patience to experience your emotions in all their messy glory, you will soon realise they no longer have the same control over you as they once did. Plus, you may even help others to realise that crying really is a good thing.

So, go on, gift yourself a good cry. We’ve heard Yoga Calm could be just the place to do it, too. No judgment here. 


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