Is something “wrong” with me?
We all cried when we were babies. But now that we’re adults, many of us often try to hold back our tears in the belief that crying — particularly at work or in public — is seen as a sign of weakness, or as something to be ashamed of. But is it? Or is the act of shedding tears actually healthy?
Having a good cry can sometimes be just what the doctor ordered. In fact, some psychologists even suggest that we may be doing ourselves a disservice by not tearing up regularly.
How Crying Is Good for You
- It Relieves Stress
Chronic stress can increase the risk of heart attack, damage certain areas of the brain, contribute to digestive issues like ulcers, and cause tension headaches and migraines, among other health issues. Humans’ ability to cry has survival value, researchers emphasize. While crying may not be as effective as medical or even respite care, most caregivers could use a bit of stress relief.
- Crying Lowers Blood Pressure
Crying has been found to lower blood pressure and pulse rate immediately following therapy sessions during which patients cried and vented. High blood pressure can damage your heart and blood vessels and contribute to stroke, heart failure and even dementia.
- Tears Remove Toxins
In addition, researchers say crying actually removes toxins from the body. Tears help humans eliminate chemicals like cortisol that build up during emotional stress and can wreak havoc on the body. Crying is both a physical and emotional release that helps humans start over with a blank slate.
- It Reduces Manganese
The simple act of crying also reduces the body’s manganese level, a mineral which affects mood and is found in significantly greater concentrations in tears than in blood serum. Elevated levels can be associated with anxiety, irritability and aggression.
- Embrace Your Emotions and Humanity
While the eyes of all mammals are moistened and soothed by tears, only human beings shed tears in response to emotional stress. Crying acknowledges the feelings you’re experiencing, and emotions motivate us to empathize, coordinate and work as a unit to best survive. In fact, crying serves an important social function. It helps communicate the strength and nature of relationships, elicit sympathy and draw individuals closer to one another.
The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed and fighting back tears, do yourself a favor and keep these points in mind. Finding a quiet place to decompress or a supportive should to cry on might be exactly what you need. Crying is not only a human response to sorrow and frustration, it’s a healthy one.
As you wish,
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