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People Who Cry Often Are Mentally Stronger, Proven By Psychologists

People Who Cry Often Are Mentally Stronger, Proven By Psychologists

Why does one person get choked up over those heart wrenching SPCA commercials, while another will barely shed a tear for the death of a loved one – if even then? Does the exhortation “Have a good cry” carry any physiological or psychological merit?

Researchers have begun studying the science of crying in an effort to help us better understand what human tears mean from social, psychological, and neuro-scientific perspectives. Recent studies[1] show that crying is not only perfectly healthy, but is also critical for good mental health and stability.

Crying is good for your mental health

Crying is part of our human emotional package. Crying provides an effective channel and filter for worrisome thoughts and disturbing events. Frequently bottling up your emotions and withholding tears can lead to long-term psychological damage.

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Here are four reasons why you should let the tears flow:

1. Crying relieves stress

Tears are therapeutic, and crying is cathartic[2]. Thirty years ago, a biochemist found that emotional tears carry more protein than non-emotional tears (e.g. tears from chopping an onion) indicating that important psychological and physiological changes occur within the body when we shed tears.

Experimental psychologist Alex Goetz, founder of General Health Inc., put it this way:

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“Tears serve an important purpose. Emotional tears, shed in moments of intense feeling, carry stress hormones and are a way of getting rid of them. Even if crying embarrasses you, it signals that you’ve reached a level of stress that’s detrimental to your health.”[3]

The physical process of deep, emotional crying involves muscular spasms, rapid intake of breath, and tears, all of which crescendo and then gradually subside. During this process, the body tenses and then relaxes, providing a feeling of release – and stress and its physiological symptoms dissipate.

2. Crying builds mental toughness

Crying is a way of acknowledging your emotions and facing them head on. Avoiding or ignoring negative feelings can be detrimental to your mental health and could lead to anxiety and depressive disorders. Or, in lieu of crying, you may find yourself employing other, less productive, coping mechanisms including alcoholism, drug abuse, or other kinds of unhealthy compulsive behaviors.

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Facing and embracing your emotions and allowing yourself the opportunity to weep for the sake of your own mental health is important and requires courage.

3. Crying helps you cope and heal

Professor Roger Baker from Bournemouth University believes that crying is the transformation of distress into something tangible, and the process reduces feelings of trauma. The implication here is that when you cry for emotional reasons, you initiate an emotional healing process.

Tears allow you to externalize and symbolize psychological hurt in a physical form. Your tears jump-start your recovery.

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4. Crying fortifies relationships and fosters community

Tears are a positive representation of who we are. Our tears demonstrate our deep emotional connection with our world and shows that we care.

Crying in front of people exposes your vulnerability and allows others to see that your emotional guard is down. Crying in particularly difficult or sad situations where multiple people are impacted, obliterates emotional walls and affords others the freedom to express themselves. Bonds are forged and strengthened when true friends weep together.

Crying has been scientifically proven to make you feel better. No, it doesn’t solve your problem, change the situation, or bring people back into your life. But it does provide you with an emotional outlet that begins the healing process, relieves stress, makes you mentally stronger, and fosters community.

So go ahead…let it out.

Reference

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Denise Hill

Denise shares about psychology and communication tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

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