What’s the big deal about crying?

Growing up, I always considered it a bit shameful to cry.  Like it made me weak. A sook. And for a lot of years i hid my tears.
Sounds easier than it was.  I’m an empath so can physically feel other’s pain.  And with my strong intuition, I can also feel how they feel and have insights that are so precise. 
Needless to say, it was a rough time.
I now know differently.  Tears can be a sign of strength. Compassion. Love.  True connection.
As assertive and direct as I am now, I am very soft when it comes to another being’s suffering. Particularly animals. Which is one of the reasons why I no longer eat them.  I also will often cry tears of happiness and joy. 
Even seeing a beautiful little kitten can bring a little happy tear to my eye.  So pure and full of love. 
There are other times that I will cry that aren’t so great.  Particularly if I’m really tired, stressed or not feeling well.  Often my response to being pushed when in that state will cause a little break down.  
It is so important to be aware of how people are feeling. Where they are at without assuming anything.  And not to judge – as you never know what is happening in a person’s life.  For example, the day my daughter was rushed to hospital for emergency exploratory surgery I was treated very badly by someone who had no clue what was going on.  My response was not gracious.  It was not a good time and it really was hard to deal with.

So is crying healthy?

Yep, it sure is.    
There are 3 types of tears:
  • Basal:  that help to keep the eyes moist every time a person blinks.
  • Reflex: They are released to flush out these irritants and protect the eye.
  • Emotional: Humans shed tears in response to a range of emotions. These tears contain a higher level of stress hormones than other types of tears. (1)
When people talk about crying, they are usually referring to emotional tears.
Here are a few benefits of crying:
  • Helps to recover from grief.  Emotions needs to be felt and shedding tears when grieving is an amazing way to help.
  • Lifts your mood.  Having a good cry when you are feeling down or overwhelmed can just release so much pressure and tension
  • Just makes you feel so much better!  Sometimes a good old cry is all you need to find your balance and become centred again. Particularly when you have been overwhelmed or stressed for long periods of time.
  • Crying activates the Parasympathetic nervous system.  This is our ‘rest and repair’ nervous system and is super important for our overall health and immune system.
  • Helps you to sleep.  
  • Restores emotional balance. Researchers at Yale University believe crying in this way may help to restore emotional equilibrium. When you’re incredibly happy or scared about something and cry, it may be your body’s way to recover from experiencing such a strong emotion. (2)
  • Detoxifies the body.  emotional tears contain stress hormones and other toxins. Researchers have theorized that crying flushes these things out of your system, though more research is needed in this area. (2)
 

The Verdict?

Unless you are crying for extended periods of time, crying is beneficial for your health. 
Crying is NOT a sign of weakness.  It is a sign of strength, compassion and love. 
It can make you feel cleansed.  Amazing.  Clear your head.  Feel ready to take on the world.
I really think it’s important that we allow ourselves to cry.  Even if it’s during a sad movie, it’s good to have a soul cleansing cry.
If however, you are feeling low for long periods, it’s important that you reach out to your trusted healthcare professional.
 
References:
  1. Eight Benefits of Crying https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319631.php
  2. Benefits of crying. https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-crying#emotionalbalance
Photo credits: Cristian Newman; Christian Erfurt; Fernando Brasil on Unsplash