Is It Okay To Cry? 7 Surprising Benefits Of Crying That You Did Not Know
Crying! An emotional behavior that is often seen in the light of weakness, an act of attention, and a trait of someone’s personality. But how much does it hold true because it is our first cry that is a sign of us being alive! (Never thought that way! Did you?)
Trust me, even I did not, up until yesterday! There has been a lot going on in my life recently. I was trying to bite in for more than what I can gulp. Which was not fruitful (of course), and it left me in tears! And trust me coming from the field I had to ask myself when I know so many tools to manage the situation, Why am I crying? Well, that is when I realized crying is the kindest way to deal with the situation, and honestly, it was. After all, crying is not weakness, it is a channel through which weakness leaves your way (read it twice).
You must be wondering that being a mental health professional how can I promote the mantra “It is okay to cry” The logic behind the same is quite simple: I am aware of the amazing benefits that are linked with crying! Benefits and Crying definitely don’t sound like two words sailing in the same boat. But let us change our perspective a bit today and learn about why crying is good for your mental health!
Suggestion: Leave all the bags of fear or judgment behind and get ready to be kind to yourself through crying!
What Are The Benefits of Crying?
1. Crying is A Great Way to Self-Soothe
You have to trust me when I say this, crying does make an individual feel better! Even science supports this notion. Every time you cry your body activates the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). When activated PNS produces a calming effect on our brain and body. This ultimately soothes works as a self-soothing mechanism of our body. That’s why you feel light and composed after crying.
2. The Emotional Tears Detoxifies You
Emotional tears? Yes, there are three types of tears, each with its unique functioning.
|Type of Tears||Functioning of Tears|
|Reflex Tears||Triggered by irritants such as dust, smoke, and others.|
|Basal Tears||Keeps the eyes moist every time an individual blinks.|
|Emotional Tears||They are an emotional outcome for a situation.|
The crying that we are referring to is Emotional Tears. Emotional tears or crying does detoxify our body from different emotions that might be weighing us down (like stress). A study even found that by crying an individual releases stress hormones and other toxins. Making us feel relaxed after a nice crying episode.
3. Crying Bid Adieu The Pain We Are Holding Back
Probably the best channel to let go of the pain that you are holding or experiencing (be it physical or emotional) is through crying. Remember during our childhood days whenever we used to get hurt our tear taps started automatically! Ever wondered why? Well, the answer lies in the fact that it is our body’s automatic reaction to let go of the pain. Apart from that, crying releases the feel-good hormones (oxytocin and endorphins) in our body which vanishes and dulls the impact of pain that we have been experiencing.
4. Emotional Balance is Restored Through Crying
Every time we cry, we activate our body in a healthy way, which further aids in restoring balance (Stephen Sideroff, Clinical Psychologist). To simplify it, when you are experiencing strong emotions that make you feel overwhelmed and disturbs your emotional equilibrium, crying can help here. According to research conducted at Yale University, under such situations crying works as our body’s system to regain our emotional equilibrium. That is why we often end up crying when we are feeling incredibly angry, as our body knows, it is time to recreate emotional balance.
5. Crying Improves Our Mood
A study conducted by the University of Minnesota found out that after crying, 88% of people experienced an improved mood. The study further supported that crying does help in healing, reducing levels of anger and stress, and surprisingly boosts our immunity as well. Another reason that explains the link between crying and a better mood is that after crying we tend to take quicker and more breaths, which works as our cooling system. When our mind and body cool down, it lifts our spirits, making us feel better overall.
6. You Sleep Better After Crying
All the benefits of crying that we have discussed above from removing toxins to reduced levels of stress, all contribute to one important factor- Sleep! With our blood pressure being in control and us being in a state of calmness, we can sleep better. A study that was ideally conducted on babies also aligns with this claim. The study found that the calming impact of crying does improve the quality and quantity of sleep.
7. Crying is A Sign of Support
We, humans, are always striving to be self-dependent, as a result of which we have more on our plate than we can finish. But sometimes we do need that extra support from those around us. Crying does work as a trigger for you and your loved ones that you require help and support from others. In psychological terms, it is known as an interpersonal or social benefit.
When we say there is nothing wrong with crying and it is okay to cry, it does not mean that you are going to cry all day long! If you do so, you flip the positive side of crying to the negative one. That is when it becomes a matter of concern.
When Should Crying Be A Matter of Concern?
From the above discussion one point is clear- Crying is beneficial! But then we can’t miss touching the other side of crying, wherein it is considered as a sign of depression and other mental health conditions. Henceforth, it is crucial to know when crying should be a matter of concern.
- Are you crying a lot? If this is the case, it clearly indicates that you are facing difficulty in processing your stress levels. That is why you should seek help from professionals to work on your stress.
- Are you crying without any reason? Often an individual does cry without any reason, in this case crying helps us create awareness about the issue that is bothering us. But, if this continues for prolonged periods consulting a medical professional is advised.
- Are you crying to escape life situations? If you are using your tears to get out of a troublesome situation then it is suggested to seek support. Reason? You have changed the agenda of crying from a bodily mechanism to a defense mechanism, which my friend is not healthy.
Crying and FAQs
Q1. Does this mean I can cry the whole day, almost every day?
No. If you have some issues going on in your life that make you cry almost every day, then it is a matter of concern. Instead of using this list of benefits of crying as your shield, we recommend you to seek help from professionals. As some deep issues need to be addressed and resolved, which crying can’t help with. In fact, in such cases, crying is actually directing you to seek help.
Q2. Is it okay for a man to cry?
We understand that we have an age-old stereotype attached with a man and crying which goes like, Men Do Not Cry! To be honest, this stereotype existed way before science came to play, that is why it was considered a sign of weakness. But if you consider the benefits of crying, which of these men doesn’t deserve it? None! Even as a man you need to cry at some points in your life to soothe your mind, body, and inner self. So don’t let this stereotype hold you back! If you want to cry, it is okay to let those tears roll!
Q3. Is crying harmful for your brain?
No study or research has shown a link between crying, and brain damage. In fact, it is prolonged stress, strong emotions, and anxiety that can damage the brain. Crying in turn helps in releasing these emotions.
Q4. How are crying and grief related to each other?
Loss is accompanied by a feeling of grief. While we might often console an individual and beg them not to cry, it is the opposite that works better in case of grief. When experiencing grief, crying indeed helps in the recovery by creating awareness of the loss and releasing the emotional baggage. That is why when in grief it is okay to cry!
To sum it up, don’t be afraid to cry it all out, cry the way you want because crying will make you feel better! It is okay to cry!
However, if you are working through some issues which need support, don’t be ashamed to seek help. You can connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or even book your therapy appointment. Remember it definitely needs some rain for the rainbow to shine up, but too much rain can result in floods! So, make sure you know if you are crying too much and too many times, seeking help is the best you can do for yourself and those around you.
Crying ≠ Weakness
Crying = Cleansing (from within)
So next time, when you see someone crying, do not consider them weak! They are being kind to themselves, and those around them by rolling down their emotions in the form of tears.
More power and a big warm hug to you!