Cry? Many of us have been told our whole lives to “dry it up,” “stop that crying,” “cry baby,” “I’ll give you something to cry about,” “toughen up,” or “men don’t cry.” These phrases can be heard from a variety of men and women in our lives from the time that we are children to the time we become adults. There seems to be a major lack of safe places where we can release our feelings without the fear of being judged. I wonder if any of the individuals that say these phrases actually understand why we cry and the benefits that we receive from crying.
Why do we cry? There are three types of tears that our eyes produce, for the sake of this post we are going to talk about emotional tears. Emotional tears arise from strong emotions and as a result they communicate our emotions to others. These tears can be triggered by empathy, compassion, physical pain, attachment pain, and moral and sentimental emotions.Tears tend to make us feel more vulnerable which is critical for human connection and can improve your relationships. Emotional tears are a natural response to a range of emotions.
Okay, okay. So crying is a natural response but why should we cry? Is it good for us? Actually, it is! Crying allows us to release stress and emotional pain. Crying is seen as a safety valve because keeping difficult feelings inside can be bad for not only our mental health but our physical health as well. Studies have shown that repressive coping can show up in our physical health in that it can cause an immune system to be less resilient, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension. Repressive coping can impact our mental health through stress, anxiety, and depression.
Feeling our emotions may be unpleasant in the moment but in the end you’ll feel a sense of relief. Having a safe space to release difficult emotions is a way that you can show up for yourself and participate in your self-care. Don’t have a safe space? Finding the right counselor can help you create a safe space to feel and express your feelings without the fear of judgment.
Contributed by Tara Trickler