Crying is a unique human experience. It’s a way you express your emotions of frustration, sadness, or happiness. Every human being needs a good cry now and then. But you may wonder if shedding tears is helpful.
And so, you might ask–what are the mental benefits when you cry?
What are tears?
You grew up with your tears. Perhaps you wailed when you fell off your bike or when you lost your favorite toy. Or, you may have discovered that tears taste salty and that they make your nose run. You have lived with your tears your entire life, but what do you know about your tears? For one thing, your tears are made of up some essential components, including the following:
- Electrolytes-these give tears their salty taste
- Fatty acids or oil
Your tears keep your eyes lubricated, which removes irritants from your eyes. They also work as anti-bacterial agents protecting your eyes from infection.
Tears come out through tear ducts and run down your nasal passages into your nose, which keeps your nose lubricated and free of bacteria. That’s why you always need to blow your nose when you cry. Tears are important for your eyes and your nose to stay healthy and bacteria-free. But tears do also help your mind, body, and emotions.
Why do you cry?
Humans shed tears when something emotional happens to them. Some people argue that animals shred emotional tears, but it’s never been proven. The reasons why you break down in tears tells a lot about you and your personality. Children tend to shed tears more than adults. Their crying usually tapers off around the age of 20.
Adults get teary-eyed for a variety of reasons, including the following:
- Sad television shows or movies
- Personal failure
10 Mental health benefits of a good cry
There are misconceptions about the shedding of tears, but crying is healthy. People who cry in public often apologize, but these emotions are part of being human. Crying allows you a way to express some of your most profound human emotions. So, don’t feel embarrassed about being misty-eyes. Instead, remember the ten benefits of crying.
A good cry can be self-soothing
Studies show there is evidence that shedding tears provide soothing effects on your mind and heart. You may feel at peace after you let out your emotions with a good cry. Built-up emotions cause stress and anxiety. Letting go of this feeling reduces these feelings and calms you down. You feel a general sense of peace and well-being, even if the circumstance that caused you to cry hasn’t changed. The soothing effect of crying takes over.
Helps your mood
Studies found that most criers said their mood improved when they cried, especially if someone comforted them in response to their crying. So at least some mood benefits you feel after crying are dependent upon the support you receive when you cry. Also, when you shed tears, your breathing and heart rate slow down. This helps you feel happier and more at peace.
Clears away stress
Crying releases all your pent up stress. It’s a purging of your emotions. As you cry, you release the tension and sadness you feel. It can be quite a dramatic change of feelings as your stress melts away. Although your circumstances haven’t changed, a good hard cry can make you feel better. It’s suggested that deep emotional tears have a higher hormone level than regular tears, which may explain why you feel a more profound sense of relief after a long session of spilling your feelings.
Allows you to express emotions
Some parents discourage their kids from crying because they think it’s babyish. These feelings about being teary-eyed can carry into adulthood. Many adults feel they shouldn’t cry, especially not in front of others. Surprisingly, people say they feel closer to people who shed tears.
People who cry are seen as warmer individuals and more relatable than someone who never lets out their feelings. So allow yourself to express your emotions of sadness or frustration. You will feel better, and others will feel more comfortable around you.
You’ll be more creative
Crying can open you up to creativity. After your emotions are spent from your crying, you may feel inspired to communicate the deep feelings of sadness, pain, or anger you feel through art, music, or writing. Creative people are usually sensitive, so they feel things deeply. Allow your tears to inspire you in ways to create something new to express yourself or to help others.
Reduces physical pain
Crying releases hormones such as oxytocin and endorphins. Crying when you’re hurt or in pain will release these two hormones. This outpouring reduces your pain. So the next time you get hurt, have a little cry, so your hormones release, and your pain will subside quickly.
Helps you sleep better
Shedding tears relaxes you and gives you a sense of peace. Relaxation and peacefulness are necessary for getting a good night’s sleep. If you have pent-up emotions, you feel stressed out. Stress keeps you awake at night. It causes you to have restless nights, so you are tired in the morning. Crying gives you a sense of calm so you can sleep well.
Boosts your communication
If you cry when others are around, it often opens up opportunities to talk about your feelings. Perhaps you understand for the first time why you’re so upset, and having someone nearby gives you a chance to share. Most of the time, people feel empathetic to crying, and they want to help you. They can provide a listening ear, which makes you feel better. One woman said it this way, “It’s a joy to have you cry in my living. That’s what friends are for.”
Helps you think clearer
Crying is a type of catharsis. After you cry, you feel as if a cloud has lifted from your heart and mind. You’re able to think clearer. Some say after a good cry, they solved severe problems that had them frustrated for months. This clarityis because once their emotions got out of the way, they could do the brain work needed to solve the problem. Plus, once they cry, they may have been able to find the creative solution that wouldn’t have come had they not cried.
Help you make decisions.
Crying helps you let go of your emotions, which in turn leads to your clear-headedness and the ability to make a hard decision. Perhaps your romantic relationship is failing. You’re upset and cry because you’re sad. But after you’ve wiped away the tears and blown your nose, you decide not to sit around anymore. You move forward and choose to have the hard conversation with your partner you’ve been dreading. Your crying cleared got your emotions out of the way enough to propel you into action.
Stereotypical thinking about crying
Tears are often seen as mostly a type of feminine behavior, but when a man cries over his favorite sports team losing, its viewed as masculine behavior. Studies show that men’s tears are generally considered more favorably than a woman’s tears. Some suggest that this could be due to men’s lack of emotionality, or it could be cultural expectations that say crying is feminine behavior.
Women who spill tears may be perceived as weak or helpless, while men are seen as warm and emotional. The research also showed that women express emotions more often than men. Women also have a more extensive range of emotions than men. It’s hard to break through this thinking but allow yourself to not give in to fear of tears. Set the example for others and find ways to encourage others who cry, especially in public places. Applaud their courage.
When is crying not good?
Sudden unexplained crying, anger, or laughing could be a symptom of an illness. These types of diseases have a pseudobulbar affect or PBA. PBA is a neurological problem due to illness or injury to the part of your brain that controls your emotions.
It’s often called emotional incontinence since you don’t have control over your emotions. In fact, due to PBA, your feelings don’t match up with your feelings. So, you can feel happy but start feeling the tears swell up or get angry. PBS happens in people with
- A history of a stroke
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s’ disease
- Brain injury
- ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)
- MS (Mulitple sclerosis)
If you notice you have uncontrolled laughing, tearing up, or anger, speak with your doctor. Other physical conditions that can cause an emotional outburst to include the following:
- Thyroid problems
- Bipolar episodes
Getting misty-eyed is a very human experience. We all express ourselves uniquely due to various situations. Although adults can struggle with shedding tears in public, it’s generally more accepted than it used to be, but there are still stereotyped thinking about crying being feminine.
Letting yourself open up has many benefits; it makes sense because you release emotions and find a sense of calm after you let out your feelings. These emotional outbursts can help you solve problems and makes some people more creative. So, next time you feel like the tears swelling, don’t hold them in. Have a good cry and experience all the benefits your emotional release can have on your body, mind, and soul.