Do you often cry just by watching romantic movies? Do you usually burst into tears of joy? Or are you the type who holds everything in and break down in one go? Whatever you are feeling, you might need a good cry from time to time.
Many people regard shedding tears as a sign of weakness and fragility and something to be ashamed of in public. But crying is, in fact, good for most of us. Here are the reasons why.
Impact Of Crying On Your Feelings
Geriatric and family mental health expert Dr. Timothy Legg stated crying is a healthy response to humans’ sorrow and frustration. If left unchecked, stress can have negative health implications physically. These may include increased risk of cardiovascular disease, brain damage, digestive issues, tension headaches, and other health issues. It is a good thing crying proves to be beneficial in reducing stress.
Studies show there are other physical benefits of crying apart from being stress relief. It can help in lowering pulse rate and blood pressure immediately after therapy sessions. It also reduces the body’s manganese level, which affects your mood. Elevated levels of the said mineral can be associated with anxiety, irritability, and aggression.
Australian psychologist Christine Bagley-Jones explained emotional tears contain more of some hormones. These direct the human body to release the stress hormone called cortisol. It is responsible for looking after you when you are in trouble or need extra energy. If you do not process cortisol, it can manifest in serious health issues. These can include heart palpitations, hyperventilation, and panic attacks.
Pouring out your emotions through tears also helps communicate the strength and nature of our relationships. It can be used as therapy if you face difficulty in expressing your feelings. Dr. Jackie Chan at the Hong Kong Psychological Counselling Center asserted crying does have a soothing and relaxing effect. It can improve your mood, make you feel better after an emotional ride, and help you gradually calm down. “It does have a soothing and relaxing effect,” he explains. “When we cry, our heart rate and breathing slow down a little and we start to calm down. We might even experience a mood boost after a good cry. Crying is useful for helping people release and express their suppressed or repressed emotions.” Dr Jackie Chan said.
Acknowledgment By Organizations
Respected institutions have acknowledged the benefits of a good cry to people’s overall health and well-being. Some schools, businesses, and government organizations have opened crying rooms for staff and visitors.
British police in Nottinghamshire established crying rooms for their female officers and staff going through menopause because they identified mood changes are often associated with menopause. There is also a so-called “cry closet” in the library of the University of Utah in the United States. It is for students studying for their final examinations and searching for a safe space to release stress.
Controlling Your Emotions Well
On the other hand, anything that is too much has always been harmful. Frequent crying, especially at inappropriate times, can be exhausting for the people around you and your loved ones. It may indicate a lack of emotional regulation. People may get weary of you or, worse, may see you as manipulative and attention-seeking. Clinical psychologist Erica Martinez explains “Some people were trained to hold back the tears since childhood (hearing ‘big girls don’t cry’ and such), but that becomes an unhealthy and incongruent response.”
You might find yourself crying most of the time or for no absolute reason. It might indicate a severe mental health issue like depression. When this happens, it is best to get professional help to figure things out and sort your emotions.
“Allowing yourself to be sad and cry means you are not numbing those emotions that you perceive as negative emotions. 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 for.” says Erika Miley, M.Ed, LMHC. Crying is a means to express your feelings. You are free to cry if you need to, but you must learn how to deal with your emotions well. The most important thing is to let it all out and not hold back.