All that pent up emotion, anger, rage, worry, even the joy gone fully unexpressed has to burst sometime – right? Though society doesn’t necessarily look positively at crying there are plenty of reasons why having a good cry from time to time is actually very healthy.
Think of tears as detoxifiers. The amazing thing about tears is they are the body’s clear cut clue that our emotional body and physical body are intricately connected. Sure, physical pain can cause tears, no doubt, but nothing conjures up a good flood of those salty raindrops like an emotional stab in the heart. Nothing truly feels better than a good cry as the release not only gets out chemicals built up in the system through the tears and mucous, but also emotional stagnation can’t help but break loose and make way for something new to come in. That new is usually quite a bit lighter than all the “old” you’ve been carrying around like a backpack for days, weeks or even years.
The world looks upon crying as “weak,” in fact, you often hear of dads telling their boys not to cry “like a girl” or a “sissy” implying that tears are not manly or strong. What’s true is that only the truly strong person can allow release to happen, drop the ego long enough to acknowledge vulnerability and get a good cry on. Crying unsticks all the sticky energy that holds onto old out-dated beliefs, judgments and thought forms. Crying can make everything all better, just like that!
It’s true, not all crying is the same. Sometimes there’s a pity party going on for the self that really needs to be sucked up eventually. But more often than not, the tears signify some sort of letting go occurring. If you go with it, without being too attached to what the tears actually mean, then you are more likely to reap the benefits of the cleanse taking place. It’s always a good idea to state to yourself sometime during the cry – “I just need to get this out” or “I am feeling really emotional right now” or “wow, I didn’t realize how much was in there.” In these quick moments of acknowledgement, the mind is turned off from attaching too strongly to the tears – any type of “meaning” beyond the release.
Problems occur only when we think the tears must mean something particular. Tears are there to cleanse the system. Crying is a release. Yes, it may often seem as though a certain event “brought on” the crying spell, and usually this is true, just not to the extent one normally thinks. Tears are more likely than not, a result of a trigger being pushed. Something deep has been brought to the surface. Our inclination is to attach it to whatever triggered us instead of look at the deeper meaning. The cool thing is, it isn’t really necessary to understand the emotional release for it to happen. Sometimes a good fit will do the trick without all the psycho-analysis.
Yes, a good cry can heal wounds, relationships, anger, hardships, it can wipe away judgment, fears and replace offense with acceptance. When it feels as though a cry is coming on, the suggestion is to get somewhere alone, or with a kind, understanding friend who can hold space for you. Crying in front of partners, unless they know they are not “causing” the tears – is not always a good plan. Crying alone can be deeply healing. Crying with others can be the same, as long as they are positive supporters of the cry. You don’t necessarily need someone to placate victimhood, but rather, know for you that this is a release which, when complete, will leave you refreshed and renewed.
Scientifically it is shown that crying lubricates the eyeballs and actually helps us to see better. They are antibacterial, so tears keep germs from invading the delicate tissues of the eyes and therefore, the body. The antibacterial agent in tears is called lysozyme and can destroy up to 95% of all bacteria in less than 10 minutes. Pretty amazing! The detox factor is very real with tears, as the stress hormones are released from the body and we experience an elevation of mood because of it. Crying can also trigger the release of oxytocin, the love hormone, making us feel literally, so much better!
Studies also show that crying strengthens bonds, especially within communities. Where people come together, to cry for the loss of a loved one or welcome in a new member of the family, at weddings and during spiritually elevating or especially “touching” sermons or musical events, people feel closer than they did before they shared tears.
Yes, a good cry is healthy for so many reasons. When was the last time you let the tears roll? Crying when sad can allow crying for joy to come that much easier. Joyful tears are different than sad in that they are still a release, but instead of letting go of the negative, they are filling you up with gladness and letting all that which would further block the flooding joy – out. If you haven’t cried recently, find yourself a good tear-jerker movie and a box of tissues and go for it! Or simply cut an onion – as my mom always suggested. You’ll be glad you did!
Written by: Stasia Bliss