Crying: The Health Benefits Of TearsLuke Coutinho
Although often seen as a sign of weakness, crying can be good for you. Many of our clients come back saying that crying makes them feel so much better, and this is actually true. Most of us have built a mindset and beliefaround crying, which is very negativeand has stigmas around it. “Be a man!” men were told. “Don’t cry like a baby!”, kids and students were told, and all of these perspectives on crying became a part of our upbringing. But this does not change the fact about how soothed one can feel after a good cry.
Crying is a natural process of the human body. No mechanism in our body, including crying, is useless. When most thought that the spleen, gall bladder, and appendix were useless organs in our body, they have now been proved wrong. Our body would not have made any mechanism that would harm us. E.g., we consider pain as a negative thing to experience. Still, it can also be looked at from a positive angle, because it is an early warning signal that something is not right in our body and that, the right action can be taken at the right time before symptoms worsen. Crying too is an intelligent mechanism to benefit us.
There are three kinds of tears:
- Reflex tears:
These are tears that come out in response to dust, smoke, or any external irritants. It is our body’s defence mechanism to lubricate our eyes, and remove these irritants from our eyes.
- Basal or continuous tears:
These are tears for lubrication, and helps prevent our eyes from drying. We need them, because a lack of it can lead to dry eyes, a very common complaint floating around today.
- Emotional tears:
These are the tears driven by emotions, both positive (crying out of joy), or negative (crying out of hurt, pain, betrayal, sorrow, and so on.).
Benefits and science behind emotional tears:
- Releases stress hormones:
Crying is a necessary and an excellent way to release stress and purge our toxins out (through stress hormones present in our body).
- Stimulates relaxation response:
Crying induces relaxation by activating our parasympathetic nervous system. It is the body’s way of relaxing you. So, if someone cries, it will help induce relaxation instead of increasing stress. The problems arise when we bottle up emotions within us, avoid crying, and let these emotions build up within us, leading to more hurt, sadness, anxiety, and a subsequent build-up of stress hormones. So, crying is not a negative response, but instead, a positive one.
- Improves mood and alleviates pain:
Crying helps produce oxytocin and endogenous opioids (endorphins), which are feel-good hormones that can improve and elevate our mood, and even dull our pain. When we are hurt and have tears in our eyes in response to that pain, it is our body’s mechanism of handling the pain, improving our mood, and helping us feel better. So, let those tears roll down instead of holding them back and pretending to be strong.
- Helps us handle hurt and pain:
Any emotional pain, be it hurt or betrayal is vital to be felt, instead of being numbed through means like shopping, partying, drugging, and so on. Crying helps us embrace the pain. Feel it, and let it die its natural death. It helps to train us on how to process these emotions. It also teaches us the grieving process, which is also a part of all tradition and religions when we lose a loved one. Our ancestors would take time to grieve for weeks and months altogether, but today we hardly grieve. We cry and feel sad, but move on with our life very early, and the process of grieving is left incomplete. An incomplete grieving process eventually results in these suppressed emotions cropping up later on in life, causing much more havoc. Emotions are energy in motion. They need to be processed. They cannot be contained, because we all know how suppressed emotions mostly manifest into possible diseases.
- Brings emotional balance:
We cry when we are happy, content, and feel accomplished, and all of this can help bring balance in our emotions.
- Helps you sleep better:
If there is something that is genuinely hurting you, cry it all out, and then try sleeping. You will find yourself sleeping with a lighter mind, and your quality of sleep will be much better. As discussed earlier, crying also puts us in a state of rest and digest, which is a favourable state to fall asleep in.
Crying teaches us to face our emotions head-on. Take your drugs, see a psychologist, take emotional support, and do all you want to, but when you feel like crying, cry it all out. This is your true solution, because only you can face the emotions that are bothering you. No one else will do it for you. Others can help, but eventually, you have to do it for yourself.
If you do not want others to see you crying, lock yourself in a room, and cry in privacy, or in front of a close friend, but understand that it is a mechanism built in us to help us survive and adapt ourselves in changing environments.
A hurtful event might have occurred a long time ago, but if it is still pulling you back, you need to process those emotions, face them head-on, and cry it out once and for all. It is okay to cry it all, out and feel every one of your emotions, rather than holding everything inside, and trying to put on a false façade which at some point, will get overbearing and confusing for yourself as well.
Only when you step back and study the amazing anatomy of your body and its intelligence, will you know that no single mechanism in our body is built without reason. So, let your tears flow, because holding onto them inside will only harm you more, and severely affect your emotional health and physical health as well.
YouCare Is All About YOU
You cannot pour from an empty cup. So build YOU first before nourishing the world. You Care is all about YOU. - Luke Coutinho
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