A good cry
At this moment in our lives, we are all being pushed to extremes as nothing is the way it was and I don’t know about you, but occasionally it seems to help to have a ‘good’ cry.
That got me thinking, how can crying be good, how did crying evolve with us because I am aware that I can have a sad cry, a guttural deep-felt sobbing cry. I can cry tears of pure joy and laughter, and cry out in pain, but one thing I notice is that I often feel better for it, that something gets released and it can leave me with a feeling of deep peace and tiredness as the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, which helps me to relax.
We produce different types of tears, that fulfil different functions, the ones that keep our eyes moist, healthy, and contain a chemical that kills bacteria. The tears that help to flush out irritants and are protective and the emotional tears also contain high levels of stress hormones.
So it seems, that in addition to being self-soothing, shedding emotional tears can release oxytocin and endorphins (the feelgood chemicals) and cortisol (one of the stress hormones, and one that releases energy when we need to respond to a perceived threat). These chemicals make people feel good and may also release anxiety, physical and emotional pain and can promote a sense of well-being. Tears can stimulate empathy in others, allowing us to share our feelings.
It’s even been observed that crying babies sleep better.
However, sometimes frequent crying can be a sign of depression and in the past, I have noticed signs in myself where crying feels as if it is related to a sense of hopelessness, sometimes it helps to ‘let it all out’ and sometimes it simply leaves me drained and is my body and minds way of helping me to reflect on the range of emotions that I am experiencing when this happens it usually helps to talk to a supportive friend or family member or even a therapist.
Clients have come to me in the past because something has triggered the tears and its as if they ‘came out of nowhere’, they take them by surprise! then seeing me becomes an act of self-care where they can look at the triggers and understand themselves better as a result almost as if the tears are a way of signaling to themselves that help is needed.
Our bodies are amazing in so many ways and producing tears is just one of them, that we tend to take for granted, the body’s way of producing a substance that can both heal and release emotion.
So if you need to ‘have a good cry’ go for it, you might feel better for it.
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