Adjusting To Outer Constraints
Since men learn that steeliness is the paradigm of manhood, they face greater stigma around crying.
To men who repress the urge to cry, its a sign of strength to be able to be autonomous, decide for yourself right from wrong and cry, Sideroff said.
Its a natural tendency, he added. The goal is to identify your needs and resolve needs, not to build up more needs.
Some parents may hide their emotions lest they upset their children. Overwhelmed partners can ask one another to tag in so one can go on a walk or to a different room to cry, Orloff suggested.
The benefit of crying is contextual, Bylsma said. You may feel better crying alone or in supportive environments rather than in a place where you might feel ashamed such as the office.
Some Health Benefits Of Crying
Signalling you need helpOnly human beings shed tears in response to emotional distress. There is scientific evidence that seeing someone crying fosters a willingness to help in those who see it. Interestingly, there appear to be some sex differences where this is concerned – women seeing another woman cry reported feeling connected to them as a result, while men did not report the same degree of connection. However, for both men and women, the desire to step in and offer support was mediated by a perceived sense of helplessness in the person crying.
Relieving physical painCrying is one of the body’s way of trying to ease your pain. Emotional tears reduce the sensation of pain by releasing oxytocin and endorphins.
Easing stressBuilt-up stress can increase your risk of having a heart attack, as well as cause other health issues. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have that big cry when you need to. This can provide a temporary release of chemicals and stress hormones.
In some areas, ‘crying therapy’ is being actively studied as a treatment option. One study looking at crying therapy for breast cancer survivors showed significant changes in mood and levels of distress after sessions of crying therapy.
Lowering blood pressureCrying can lower both your blood pressure and heart rate, studies have found. It does this by activating your parasympathetic nervous system , which helps you relax.
The Benefits Of Crying And Why It’s Good For Your Health
Crying is an important way to communicate and process emotions.
Taylor Leamey writes about all things wellness, specializing in mental health, sleep and nutrition coverage. She has invested hundreds of hours into studying and researching sleep and holds a Certified Sleep Science Coach certification from the Spencer Institute. Taylor also holds bachelor’s degrees in both Psychology and Sociology.
We’ve all tried to hold back tears at some point. We get embarrassed for our emotions and try to suppress them, especially in front of other people. But there’s nothing to be ashamed of — crying is a natural human activity. More so, crying is actually good for you.
If you’re like me, you might cry when you’re mad or frustrated, or even when you’re happy . While it’s sometimes viewed as a sign of weakness, crying is a healthy coping method. When you need a release to get rid of stress or calm down, a good cry might be just what the doctor ordered.
We explain exactly why you cry and why it’s beneficial for your health to let those tears flow.
Recommended Reading: Mental Health Crisis Plan Worksheet
The Act Of Crying Is Not Cathartic Talking To Someone Can Be
Dr Vanman says if you do cry alone, telling someone later that you cried can be the act of signalling our need to someone.
“We’re letting other people know how stressed we are,” he says.
He says even posting something on social media about having a cry is a way of sharing with others that you’ve gone through something and allows people to offer support or a shared experience.
Because crying seems to have such a social purpose, whether you are comfortable crying in front of others or not often depends on your upbringing and social circle.
Professor Hudson says research shows women are more likely to cry then men, with women crying an average of two to five times a month, and men averaging one cry every two months, which may be explained due to different social expectations around how men and women will act.
Crying In Public Is Generally Seen As Bad
Crying in public is ok in some defined situations, and taboo in others. For example, its accepted and expected at funerals and maternity units. Its ok to express our sadness for a recent death, or express our joy as we welcome new life.
Shedding a few tears is also ok in high profile leaders . If they’re addressing a large crowd about an emotive topic, they might even get applause.
But crying is taboo in the workplace, especially for women in the corporate world. Companies expect us to keep our emotions under control, and deal only in facts and data. We’re discouraged from crying if we want to be respected, and seen as effective in our jobs.
You May Like: Clinical Mental Health Counseling Jobs
Holding Back Your Feelings Can Hurt
These feelings have energy, Sideroff explained. You have to constrict in different ways to hold them in. That interferes with natural, instinctive processes and creates imbalances since the bodys need is still there.
If youre hungry, you eat, Sideroff said. You find food to resolve and address that imbalance.
So if youre sad or hurt or angry, you need to find something to resolve that imbalance.
If you dont, you might express those imbalanced feelings in inappropriate ways like lashing out at your family or friends.
Emotional restraint can hinder our ability to experience positive feelings, such as joy and love, as well.
Crying and honoring your own needs and sensitivities is a critical part of self-care and being loving with oneself, being aware of ones needs and honoring them to benefit the health of the body, mind and spirit, said Dr. Judith Orloff, author of The Empaths Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People and a psychiatrist at the University of California, Los Angeles, Psychiatric Clinical Faculty.
Why Cant I Cry
There are lots of reasons why people have a hard time crying. Just because you rarely, or never, cry doesnt automatically mean that you are repressing your emotions in an unhealthy way. It could just mean that you havent had anything happen to you that causes you to feel sad.
Unlikely? Yes. But some people are just blessed. If you never have any reason to feel sad, then consider yourself exceptionally lucky and trust that youll be able to cry when its appropriate to.
If youre like the rest of us, though, youve probably gone through at least some events that have made you feel sad. Maybe youve lost a pet, gone through a break-up, or even just seen a tear-jerking movie. If you feel like crying and simply cant, then thats a different story and it may, in fact, be unhealthy.
Some of the most common reasons that people arent able to cry include:
You May Like: Guardianship For Adults With Mental Illness In Michigan
Emotional Benefits Of Crying
Have you ever noticed that you generally feel a little better after letting yourself have a good cry? Thats because bottling up our emotions with no outlet can be bad for your health. Studies have referred to this as repressive coping, which is associated with a weak immune system, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.
While there are many benefits to crying, here are three big ones:
1. Helps the body release stress
2. Eases physical and emotional pain
Crying releases hormones and chemicals into the body that help improve mood and ease pain. These feel-good chemicals can help you feel calmer and allow you to cope with emotional situations.
3. Signals to others that we need support
Whether conscious or not, crying is a way to communicate our needs. When we cry with friends or family, it lets them know that youre in need of comfort and care. It helps encourage closeness and strengthens our social bonds.
Does Crying Really Release Tension
Deanne finds a big cry now and then helpful when she needs an emotional release.
“It’s something I actually look forward to,” she says.
“Because I can feel tension rise in my body beforehand. For me, crying releases all the negative energy.”
Professor Jennie Hudson says Deanne’s description fits what many people think the physical act of crying does for them that it causes the release of tension.
But the director of the Centre for Emotional Health at Macquarie University suggests it may actually be that we’re just more likely to cry at a point when tension is being released anyway.
You May Like: What Type Of Seizures Affect Both Sides Of The Brain
It’s Not A Form Of Catharsis
Popular perception would have us believe that crying is a catharsis, or an emotional exorcism of pent up sadness and rage. The idea that crying could have the benefit of emotional release for an adult was first introduced by Sigmund Freud and his colleague Josef Breuer in the late 19th century. Freud and Breuer wrote that crying in psychotherapy leads the patient to release pent-up feelings a necessary step on the road to resolving underlying conflicts. During my psychiatry training, supervisors taught me that an emotional patient was a good thing. Today, as I sit across from a weeping patient, Im torn by surprise, relief that theyre able to express their feelings, and finally compassion.
As it turns out, of those reactions, only compassion will make my patient feel better. The crying-as-catharsis theory has remained popular for decades. But Vingerhoets and colleagues have made strides towards debunking it, instead proving that tears facilitate togetherness. An important study of participants across 41 countries consistently found that, regardless of culture or nationality, the act of shedding tears invoked support from others. If crying made you feel better, then peeling onions would also have a positive effect on mood,” says Vingerhoets. “Its the reception of emotional support that makes you feel better not the act of crying.
Benefits Of Crying For Depression
According to Khurana, some scholars have thought that crying might release stress hormones like cortisol that accumulate in the body. They believe that after crying, people generally feel better.
The same study showed that crying could also improve your mood due to the emotional release and reduced feelings of stress that it can bring.
I have had many patients say, You did your job because I cried, or this is the first time that I have cried in a very long time, Khurana says. And I have found that it often makes patients slow down and take stock of the range of emotions that they are feeling about whatever they are talking about.
Also Check: How Much Is The Mindfulness App
When To Seek Professional Help
A good long cry once in a while can make you feel better and help you cope with your emotions.
But if you find yourself crying excessively and uncontrollably frequently, and if it has started affecting your daily activities, it may be a sign of depression or another mental health issue. If you notice frequent crying as well as other signs of depression or anxiety, seek the help of a mental health professional.
Crying Can Help You Connect With Others
“Sometimes, because of our cultural upbringing, we have been given the message that we should not cry, not be so emotional,” says clinical psychologist Dr. Lynne Matte, Ph.D., who works with Alma, a community for mental health professionals. However, Dr. Matte tells Bustle that forcing yourself not to cry can create barriers within yourself that prevent you from understanding your own emotions and from building supportive relationships with others. “One of the consequences of holding it in is denying that something is wrong. Putting a brave face on can be detrimental in that it leads to built-up resentment and frustration that can lead to anger.”
On the flip side, allowing yourself to turn on the eye fountains can help you build social connections that humans need to survive. “By holding back and denying our feelings we are therefore not able communicate effectively,” Dr. Matte says. It’s a very vulnerable experience to be sure, but she tells Bustle that crying is essentially a form of communication and asking for help and support. Sure enough, people who let themselves cry in front of others are more likely to intimately connect with people, experience empathy, and receive emotional help, according to a 2018 study published in the journal CNS Spectrums. So, science says, there is no shame in sharing your pain through your tears â sometimes all you need is a good hug.
Recommended Reading: Group Homes For Adults With Mental Illness
Crying Can Improve Your Mood
This one seems counterintuitive, but rest assured that crying can actually improve your mood. In a 2015 study published in the journal Motivation and Emotion, participants were shown sad movies . Researchers monitored who cried in response to the films and who didn’t. Those who shed tears initially felt worse, while those who had more stoic or neutral reactions felt about the same. However, 90 minutes after the film ended, researchers checked back in andthose who cried during the film felt better than they did before the movie even started. Those who had stoic reactions still had the same level of happiness they’d had throughout the experience.
That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with you for being able to get through something like Titanic without sobbing . Everyone reacts differently to different things, and that’s OK. Just know that if you do want to cry, it may well make you feel better.
Why Do I Cry Everyday
There are a lot of reasons, besides having an immediate emotional response, why you may cry more than normal. Tearfulness is frequently associated with depression and anxiety. People often experience the two conditions at the same time. Certain neurological conditions can also make you cry or laugh uncontrollably.
Recommended Reading: Ct Vs Mri Brain Scan
Does Crying Benefit Your Mental Health
Much like other natural bodily reflexes like yawning or sneezing, crying may provide a physical feeling of satisfaction or relief when you let it happen rather than trying to suppress it.
Everyone is different, but for some people, having a good cry can provide a sense of release that leaves them feeling lighter and calmer, says Dr. Gauri Khurana, MPH, a psychiatrist in New York City and a clinical instructor in the department of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine.
Crying is often viewed as cathartic, meaning it helps release feelings of stress and helps modulate chemicals in the body, such as decreasing the cortisol and increasing oxytocin and endorphins, and makes people feel better, Khurana says.
Studies have shown that it doesnt always help people feel better, she notes, but in my clinical experience, it does soothe people when they are in a heightened state of mood.
This is because crying likely leads to a chemical reset, even though the cause of someones crying has likely not changed, Khurana says.
Some experts believe that the significance of emotional tears is rooted more in their effect on others. That is, shedding emotional tears stimulates caregiving and protective responses from significant others.
Crying may also facilitate social bonding and reduce interpersonal aggression.
Crying Is Normal In Healthy Amountsbut What Is A Healthy Amount
With no hard numbers as to how often we should cry, the American Psychological Association states that, on average, women cry emotional tears several times a month , while men may cry once every month or two . So, if you fall into that range, you’re crying a healthy amount, but it ultimately depends on your personality and your life circumstances.
Excessive crying is a key symptom of mood disorders like depression or anxiety. Some neurological states that result from injuries or brain disturbances can lead to a condition called pseudobulbar affect. In this involuntary neurological state, people may experience uncontrollable laughing or crying.
If you’re crying excessively, it’s essential to seek help. Contact your doctor to discuss your concerns and talk about treatment plans. If you’re crying a typical amount, it’s healthy for you so go ahead and let it out.
Read Also: Brain Cancer Survival Rate By Age
Is Crying Good For You Mental Health
Crying Helps Improve Your Mood Many people associate crying with feeling sad and making them feel worse, but in reality, crying can help improve your mood – emotional tears release stress hormones. Your stress level lowers when you cry, which can help you sleep better and strengthen your immune system.
Is It Ok To Cry For No Reason
Crying is a normal emotional response to many different factors. However, frequent, uncontrollable, or unexplained crying can be emotionally and physically exhausting and can greatly affect daily life. This type of crying may result from a mental health condition, such as burnout, anxiety, or depression.
Also Check: Most Effective Mental Health Treatment