What the hell is wrong with me? Nothing really.
It seems that I cry more these days as I have gotten older. My stoic husband can get weepy when watching a sappy movie, sometimes (he will deny this). But some people tend to cry more naturally than others and I fit into that category.
So why does it seem people are ashamed to cry? Because it’s been drummed into us (especially men) that crying is a sign of weakness or even seen as unprofessional. Don’t be afraid to cry when the time is right. It takes a strong person to cry.
In fact, crying is good for you. A study from the University of Minnesota (Dr. William Frey), found that crying (triggered by emotions) improves the mood of 88% of people and it can also help with healing, boosting immunity and reducing levels of anger and stress.
Dr. Frey is a researcher and author of Crying: The Mystery of Tears. I learned that chemicals (and hormones) are released in our tears. Emotional tears include the prolactin hormone, which plays an important role in your immune system and is mostly associated with milk production. Women have more prolactin than men and is probably the main reason women tend to cry more.
Having a good cry can just make you feel better overall. Crying is more effective than any antidepressant. Here are six reasons that explain why crying is okay.
1. Crying makes our body feel better. We shouldn’t suppress a cry on a basic level because it is a physiological response—a physical release—and helps us feel better about pain. We tend to breathe deeper when crying and deep breathing reduces cortisol (the stress hormone) and in turn lowers stress levels.
2. Crying can be good for us psychologically. It helps us to take a step back and process what might be wrong. The worst thing you can do is to suppress crying because if you bury those emotions—they don’t go away—they’ll just build up and come out as anger or bitterness, which will make you feel worse over time.
3. Crying can help you deal with a loss. Losing a loved one or a pet is one of the worst things to deal with. Sometimes the only thing you can do is hug someone and let the tears flow. Words won’t suffice. A loss is not just associated with grief over a death, but also any type of rough circumstance, like suddenly losing your job or breaking up with a significant other.
“Crying is not a sign of weakness, but makes you stop and assess the situation better.”
4. Crying can help you be more creative. Ask yourself "How can I express what I just went through in a way that will help or inspire others?" I got the idea to write this article after crying about something. Many creative people tend to be more sensitive and express their feelings through their "work." Examples include artists, actors, musicians, and writers.
5. Crying can help you move forward in life when you confront your feelings. Don’t just play it safe in life and hide. It’s hard to put yourself in new situations that have some emotional baggage. Confront what’s holding you back. Crying is not a sign of weakness, but makes you stop and assess the situation better. Then you can move forward and embrace opportunities for personal growth.
6. Showing vulnerability helps you connect with others. It’s okay to respond to someone who’s crying in public. Being around someone who cries publicly can be awkward or uncomfortable for everyone; but if nobody does anything, it can make that person feel worse. Do something supportive like give them a hug. It builds trust.
Remember, there’s a reason for the tears and crying is cleansing. Think of crying as natural therapy!
Brigitte Cutshall is a Media Solutions Consultant and a Certified Health Coach and a two-time breast cancer survivor and living with a benign brain tumor. Brigitte obtained her Health Coach Certification from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition based in New York. Brigitte is the author of "Real Things: 6 Ways to Embrace Life" published April 2015. For more information visit www.brigittecutshall.com and www.realthings.guru. Connect with her on Facebook.