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5 Reasons Why People Who Cry A Lot Are Mentally Strong

5 Reasons Why People Who Cry A Lot Are Mentally Strong

Unfortunately, not all emotions are created equal.

The most widely accepted emotion, happiness, is a sign of confidence, security, and success, among other things. Even if we have to “fake it till we make it”, we’ve been told expressing happiness is a sure way of gaining close friends and admirers.

Fear is perhaps the most applicable emotion, as everyone has felt it in some regard. We’ve all been scared of something before: leaving a job, asking someone to marry us, confronting a friend about something they did to upset you. And considering the daily fear mongering by mass media outlets, fear makes a strong case for the most felt emotional sensation.

Anger, though rarely welcomed, is another emotion many of us feel and practice daily. Be it in the midst of heavy traffic, at your child for breaking a prized vase, or at an incompetent coworker, anger is, again, widely accepted as a completely normal emotion.

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Disgust is highly suggestive and, for the most part, remains internalized but is still regularly felt. When disgust is expressed, in most contexts, it’s usually accepted and sometimes agreeable.

Sadness, however, is in a league of it’s own, much like in the new feature Pixar film Inside Out. Sadness seems to be alienated, picked on, and persecuted when expressed fully. Outward expressions of sadness such as droopiness of the body and face, slumping, and crying are considered signs of weakness and insecurity. It’s unfair that our culture puts sadness in such a tight box. It’s damaging, unhealthy, and downright unfair to the human life experience.

People who aren’t afraid to express sadness, in fact, are far more mentally healthy than those who suppress it. Here’s why:

They aren’t afraid of their emotions.

If you were overwhelmed with joy, would you hide a smile? If you saw the innards of a squished squirrel while running or biking on the side of the road, would you not grimace? If you had an awful day at work and your unemployed roommate drank your last ice cold beer that you’d been looking forward to all day, would you not be pissed off? If you were trying to find a light switch and didn’t think that your boyfriend was in the room, lurking, waiting to scare you thinking it would be funny, would you not be terrified when he jumped towards you and yelled?

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So if you’re sad, why wouldn’t you cry? Why wouldn’t you slump around? Why wouldn’t you give yourself the right to be sad?

People who ignore sadness cheat themselves out of an important facet of life. Sadness, or crying, isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign that you’re a human and have feelings beyond what you’re told is appropriate to show in public.

They understand the healing properties of tears.

Much like a spit valve releases saliva from a trumpet, your tear ducts releases stress, anxiety, grief, and frustration from your brain and body. It’s soul cleansing, mind enriching, and goosebump inducing, almost acting as a drain for the buildup of negative emotions that result from stress. The healing properties of tears aren’t just restricted to sad tears, either, but happy tears as well. In either case you’re dealing with extreme emotion. Allowing that extreme emotion to back up and stay in the body can be very dangerous both physically and mentally.

Beyond improving move and reliving stress, crying, specifically tears, have scientific benefit because they release toxins, help improve vision, and can kill 90 to 95 percent of all bacteria in just five to 10 minutes.

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They know how therapeutic crying can be.

Recent psychological studies have determined that crying stimulates our brain’s endorphin release, the “feel-good” hormones that also act as a natural pain killer. Crying also lowers manganese levels, a chemical that, when overexposed to, can exasperate the brain and body.

Even though the problem may still persist after you’ve cried it out, there’s no doubt that the act of crying allows for an overall release of bad emotion even if momentarily. This allows us to think clearer about the problem and not be so overwhelmed by it.

They don’t care about gender roles or societal expectation.

Crying is stigmatized for both sexes. If she cries it’s because she’s unstable or a wreck or, the most delusional conclusion, needs attention from others. If he cries, he’s a pansy, a wuss, or, my personal favorite, not manly enough. All of these generalizations encourage both sexes to submerge their sadness to the depths of their soul.

Though it’s an uphill battle that can only be won an inch at a time, we’re working tirelessly to break down social constraints that hang heavy over both sexes. Those who allow themselves to be sad in public are not only brave, but also activists for an emotionally healthier society.

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They invite others to not run from their feelings.

I like to cry. Or rather, I don’t let myself not be sad when I feel sadness. We are all working to overcome some sort of depressing demon that’s trying to tear us down. When we allow ourselves to feel pain when we feel it, we’re also encouraging others, either people we already know or not, to connect with our pain. To know that you’re not alone in thinking, feeling, or even acting a certain way is emotionally liberating and, in extreme cases, life saving.

Those who accept sadness when it stares them in the face allow others to do the same. Recalling the previous point, it’s dangerous when we keep emotions hidden and buried within. Since sadness has negative associations, we often won’t reach out to someone we notice is experiencing difficulty because we’re afraid, not of the person necessarily but of the act of being deeply upset.

When we’re honest to our bodies, we allow it to perpetually run at maximum capacity, even when we’re experiencing tremendous pain.

We’ve been seriously discussing good mental health practices for years now. With the dawn of therapy and heavily prescribed feel-good medications, we should all be more appreciative of our biological ability to cry and take full advantage of the natural anxiety-reliever it is.

Because crying shouldn’t be perceived as a sign of weakness, but a sign of internal strength and mindfulness.

Featured photo credit: Left Out / Portable Soul via albumarium.com

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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