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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 December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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