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.
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
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
- Emotional: In response to a range of
- 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
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.