Let it Out: The Health Benefits of Crying
Cry if you want to!
In fact, if you’re putting your health first these days, a good cry has various health benefits. If you’ve got pressure building behind your eyes or you feel slightly on edge lately, a good cry could potentially relieve all that. But first…
Why Do We Cry?
In truth, our bodies create three different types of tears. These include basal, reflex, and emotional tears. Basal tears keep our eyes moisturized and hydrated. These happen when you blink. Reflex tears occur when an irritant comes into contact with your eyes. It’s a protective mechanism.
Then, there are emotional tears. These tears happen in response to emotions. And these are the types of tears we’re talking about in this article.
What are the Health Benefits of Crying?
Let’s dive in!
1. Crying Reduces Stress
Often we feel tears coming on when we’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed. You feel the tension building in your forehead and you find yourself trying to hold back tears.
It’s time to stop this practice of suppressing our tears! Find a quiet space alone (if you need to) and just let it out because surprisingly, your tears aren’t only made up of water, they’ve also got stress hormones and toxins.
Basically, by crying, you’re detoxifying your body and getting rid of pent-up stress. Flush those things out. Literally, shed the stress in your life. You’ll feel that much better afterward.
2. Crying Alleviates Psychological & Physical Pain
Crying soothes you. It calms you and makes you feel better which you probably know from your own experience with crying, but now you’ve some serious evidence.
Researchers have shown that crying activates the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system relieves stress and calms you down. When you’re calm, you may feel less psychological pain. However, it might take a good few minutes of crying to achieve these effects.
In terms of physical pain, crying releases endorphins (your natural pain relievers), specifically Oxytocin which will calm you as well as make you feel better.
3. Crying Improves Your Mood
These endorphins are also responsible for improving your mood. You know how things just don’t feel as big of a deal as they did before you had your crying session? Yeah, you can thank your endorphins for that. They come in, rid your body of pain, and lift up your mood.
Basically, endorphins are your body’s superheroes and crying calls on them to come out from hiding, so go for it if you’re feeling it. We all need a good cry every now and again, so force those superhero endorphins to jump into action!
4. Crying Lets Out Built-Up Emotions
Individuals cry for all kinds of reasons. You might feel happy, sad, angry, or stressed out. Whatever the reason - crying can help release these extreme feelings in a healthy and somewhat productive way.
Interestingly, some research indicates that crying might help restore a balanced emotional state. This means you can then logically tackle your problem or situation - without being clouded by any extreme emotional reactions.
5. Decreases Blood Pressure
Yup, crying can lower your blood pressure. Consequently, it can help protect your heart and your entire circulatory system. This can prevent heart disease, stroke, and dementia. Age well by crying a little more (if you need it!).
6. Signals to Others that You Need Support
There’s nothing more heartbreaking than watching your loved one’s breakdown in tears. If you’re like most, you probably long to help them and resolve their suffering. The same thing happens to others when you cry - it shows you need support.
While you may feel that crying is looked down upon by some, support and relationships contribute to a more meaningful life. Crying in front of others and openly showing your emotions (when they happen - no one likes the boy who cried wolf) displays your openness and transparency. It deepens connections and understanding. It shows you’re human - like the rest of us.
Plus, physical touch can heal you from the inside out! A hug or having someone close to you can help in tough times often more than we think.
7. Helps You Sleep Better
Possibly! More research is needed but a study has shown that crying helps babies sleep better.
And when you think about it… It makes sense that it would help adults too! Emotional tears let out stress. When you’re less stressed, you sleep better. Less worries = more rest.
When is Crying a Problem?
Frequent crying and feelings of sadness may indicate depression, especially if you’re not really sure why you’re crying. If this happens in conjunction with symptoms such as fatigue, trouble concentrating, feeling worthless and helpless, and not enjoying things you once enjoyed, book an appointment with your doctor. Get help now so you can feel better faster.
Related Article: How to Talk to Someone You Love About Their Depression
Go Ahead: Let it All Out!
Contrary to popular belief, crying isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s completely natural and it boasts a ton of health benefits. Let yourself have a good cry every now and then. You’ll feel better for it. Your life will be better for it too.
Being human means having a range of emotions - crying is absolutely part of that. It’s okay to let it go and break down. As explained above, it can actually really help you and your situation. Don’t feel guilty or small.
In fact, feel empowered by the fact that your body has this amazing ability to flip the switch and make you feel better. The human body is pretty cool when you think about it!