While we were growing in the womb, we were so comfortable and protected… Then we are born and as we grow up we are abruptly assaulted with the realities of the world.
We experience a bunch of emotions such as sadness, grief, joy, and frustration. It’s a such a huge and daily challenge trying to keep them all in balance. Sometimes we break down and there’s nothing like a good cry to make us feel better. So we cry. And then we feel guilty – “Am I weak or what?”, “How embarrassing!”
It happens often as a big part of our society considers shedding tears to be a sign of weakness, in particular for men. I totally disagree with this notion. I believe you need to be a brave man or woman with a strong self-awareness to cry.
Crying is a cathartic experience and a highly evolved behaviour with many health benefits.
However, the frequency with which a person cries, how they feel after and whether it helps them to cope with an emotional event is directly influenced by their beliefs about crying and their social context.
Researchers at Tilburg University have done an interesting study on crying and the results are impressive. On average, American women cry 3.5 times per month while men cry around 1.9 times per month. Women in China only cry about 1.4 times each month. Men in Bulgaria reportedly cry a mere 0.3 times each month. The averages by country vary considerably.
The Japanese for instance, are strong believers in the health benefits of crying and some cities in Japan now have “crying clubs” called rui-katsu (meaning, literally, “tear-seeking”), where people come together to indulge in good old-fashioned sobfests.
That’s right, nowadays you can either choose joining a laugh club or a crying club. Both are based on the premise that releasing your emotions is good for you and can make you healthier.
Why do we try to suppress emotions?
So if releasing our emotions is healthy, why are we constantly fighting them and trying to suppress them? We are meant for all emotions, not just the positive ones. Most of us cry too little and wind up suppressing emotions that we perceive as negative, which leads to depression. When we numb selective emotions, we are actually numbing all of them. Why can’t we just allow ourselves to cry and experience all of the emotions we are meant for?
The blockages build up as we and our personality develop.
As we have experiences which hurt us (intellectual pain, emotional pain or physical pain from bodily injury) our survival instinct kicks in and tries to find ‘a strategy’ to avoid being hurt again.
We are by instinct “pain avoidant” at a subconscious level. We are not aware of this consciously.
Another thing many of us are doing unconsciously is not being aware of our thoughts and feelings at a deep level, so one’s thinking goes on in autopilot mode. We get stuck in patterns and ways of thinking and feeling that we repeat daily without noticing.
As an example, if since you were a kid you thought that crying is a sign of weakness, that thought will not change until you really observe it, acknowledge it and question how limiting that belief might be.
Most of us are little aware of what is happening in our internal space. We deal with constant chattering in the background with mental arguments and repeated thoughts.
This type of “story telling” then affects the balance of our emotional energy. If you have read some of my articles, you must be familiar with this concept of thoughts and emotions being energy which impacts our reality according to their nature.
The impact of suppressing emotions
Crying is a natural response human have to a range of emotions. Whenever we suppress this natural response, we block the natural energy flow through our body for self-expression (for our physical, intellectual and emotional aspects). By doing that we are channeling or directing the energy flows in the body artificially with our mind.
The result is the build up of blockages or unused areas in our body, mind and feelings. Where we don’t allow the energy to flow then we create a blockage and it happens that energy stops flowing through it and this can be a spot where disease in the body starts.
On the other hand, if we overuse an area, then it happens that this area gets “worn out”, it’s like creating a rut. In both cases we are stopping energy of flowing freely and create imbalances in all aspects of oneself.
Benefits of crying and embracing your emotions
The Japanese have already realised the benefits of crying and now it’s about time that we do the same. It’s OK to cry and its benefits begin at birth with a baby’s first cry.
If you feel the need to cry, don’t hold back your tears. Here are the benefits of crying:
1. Has a soothing effect
A 2014 study Trusted Source found that crying may have a direct, self-soothing effect as it activates the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). The PNS helps your body rest and relax.
2. Helps to relieve physical pain
Don’t be ashamed about crying when you break a bone or burn your hand. Research has found that when you cry, the body releases feel-good hormones, like oxytocin and endorphins, that increase pain tolerance and help promote a sense of well-being. Once the endorphins are released, your body may go into somewhat of a numb stage. Oxytocin can give you a sense of calm.
3. It helps release stress
If you find yourself feeling a good sense of relief after a good cry, there’s a scientific explanation for that. Crying lowers the cortisol levels. Stress hormones are found in tears, and so crying literally releases a lot of that stress.
4. Enhances mood
It might not be particularly fun to feel sad or stressed but it’s good when people are able to access an emotion that they have not felt safe sharing previously or that they have not wanted to face head-on. By letting yourself cry, you’ll find that you’re able to better overcome those negative emotions and your mood can improve. Crying is therapeutic and can lift people’s spirits.
5. Fights bacteria and improves vision
Crying keeps your eyes clean and helps to kill bacteria. This is because tears contain a fluid called lysozyme with powerful antimicrobial properties.
Tears also help to keep the eyes moist and prevent mucous membranes from drying out.
6. Restores emotional balance
Crying doesn’t only happen in response to something sad, you can also cry when you are extremely happy. Researchers at Yale UniversityTrusted Source believe crying can help to restore emotional balance. When you’re incredibly happy or sad about something and cry, it may be your body’s way to recover from experiencing an unbalance.
Healthy vs unhealthy cry
Sometimes is not easy to spot the difference between a healthy cry and an unhealthy one. A healthy cry is soothing and can take the pain away and help you heal faster. An unhealthy cry stemming from self-pity and a “victim mentality” can lead to you blaming others for your problems without figuring out how to handle them yourself.
If you are spending your time crying in resentment and anger—it’s self-destructive.
Crying too much? When should you seek help?
Crying in response to something that makes you happy or sad is normal and healthy. Don’t shy away from shedding tears if you feel the need to. However, if crying starts to interfere with leading a normal life, it’s advisable to chat about it with your doctor. Excessive crying may be a sign of depression.
In some other cases, it might be that you are going to one of the common stages of spiritual awakening such as the dark night of the soul when you start purging all the unhealthy emotions from your Past in order to become the new you. Be aware of that as in our Western society we tend to confuse the symptoms of depression with the symptoms of spiritual awakening very frequently.
Is part of the mission of this blog to help people understand that sometimes when they think they are depressed or going crazy, they might just be going through the beautiful awakening of their true identity and starting their consciousness evolution journey. People are awakening now more than ever and this is a beautiful thing.
In the process of finding out what is happening to you I suggest trying meditation. I can’t stress enough how powerful meditation is. It will help you observe your thoughts and emotions and acknowledge them. As you practice, you will then learn how to easily organise those thoughts, accept them and release them in order to focus on the Present moment and live life fully.
Anyway, I hope you found this article helpful and remember – The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed and fighting back tears, do yourself a favour and keep these points in mind.
Then go ahead and have a good cry!
Love and Light x