Four reasons to have a cry

Posted August 30, 2011

A couple of weekends ago I hopped into bed and had a massive cry. I’m talking whole-body shaking, can’t breath, ugly type of crying. It was wonderful. There was nothing in particular that triggered this emotional purge; I just needed to let it out. My boyfriend had gone out for the night, and I guess spending that time alone with my thoughts and feelings gave me the space I needed to really let my shit fly – without having someone tell me that it’s okay and to stay strong. In that moment, I didn’t want to be strong. I wanted to feel however I was feeling.

I spend so much time and effort being positive. Sometimes it’s refreshing to really feel sad. Once the tears slowed down enough, I took out my journal and did a brain dump. Everything I was feeling was scrawled out onto paper. I can’t tell you how healing this was for me. I felt amazing afterwards and had the best night’s sleep. Think I’m nuts? It’s actually been proven that crying is a vital part of our wellbeing. Here’s why:

1. Tears heal our body
Dr Stephen Sinatra says that crying is the most healing of emotions. “Because when you go into deep sobbing, not only does it alleviate tension in your vocal cords, in your lungs, in your diaphragm, and in your heart, but also the tears themselves are healing,” he says in Suzanne Somers’ book Knockout. “Tears contain endorphins, and these are healing chemicals. Whenever you cry, you are healing the body.”

2. Crying is detoxifying
Biochemist William Frey found in one study that emotional tears – as in those formed in distress or grief – contained more toxic byproducts than tears of irritation (think onion peeling). This doesn’t mean that tears are toxic. It means that they actually remove toxins from our body that build up courtesy of stress.

3. Crying reduces stress and anxiety
Tears remove some of the chemicals built up in the body from stress, like the endorphin leucine-enkaphalin and the hormone, prolactin. High levels of manganese in the body can also cause anxiety, nervousness, irritability, fatigue, aggression and emotional disturbance. Tears can lower a person’s manganese levels!

The opposite is true as well. Suppressing tears increases stress levels, and contributes to diseases aggravated by stress.

4. Crying cleanses by releasing stored emotions
I’ve said this in many of my posts, but only because it is so damn true: feeling is healing! Repressing your emotions, denying them and pushing them down into your body will only help to manifest larger issues and illness. The feelings become stored in our cells, and after a while the build up becomes too much for us to handle. Crying is cathartic. If we allow ourselves the privilege of actually feeling our true raw emotions, we can deal with our troubles in a much healthier manner. It’s okay to feel sad. It’s okay to not be positive all of the time. If your sadness is chronic and never-ending, then you could be in trouble. But if you just want to break down and let the boo-hoos out, by all means do it.

Do you love a good cry? Or are you the type to hold the tears in?

Positive affirmation for the day: I give my body and mind permission to feel however they want to feel. I don’t try to manipulate or alter my feelings. They are what they are.

Image credit: Jannes Pockele

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Usually I don’t cry in public. But always in private!

Love this post Jess! It’s so true. I think allowing yourself to cry (not to the point of not living of course though) is so incredibly beneficial. When I’ve been through rough times and tried to suppress the urge to cry, I’ve allowed myself to have one of those gut wrenching cries by telling myself in a half hour I will pick myself and get on with what I need but for this next half hour, I can feel whatever the h#ll I want. Works a treat!

Kris says:

Wow Casey you are so right … and funny thing is once you do let go it usually only last 1/2 hour and you can move on feeling so much better … it is when you try to stop it that it lasts way longer then it should ! We are allowed to feel sad it lets us enjoy the highs so much more : )

Amanda says:

Hi Jess
Thanks so much for sharing through your blog.
I look forward to it every day :-D

My crying (the unhealthy type!) actually led me to find your site!
Disillusioned by ‘traditional medicine’ and the contradictory treatments I was being prescribed, I turned to the Internet in search of ‘wellness’ and have been leading a much happier and healthier life since. Definitely a lot less crying!! I agree, however, that a good cry works wonders. Sometimes I have a very private snot session to relieve all the tension in my head. Works a treat!!!

Thanks again Jess xox

Jess says:

Thanks so much Amanda! I am so happy that you’ve found the inspiration you needed to turn things around. Go you!!


Nicola says:

Hi Jess,

This is a great post! I totally agree. Sometimes a good cry is the best route and release.

thanks for the reminder!

:) xx

Monique says:

Jess hope you’re ok!


Ulrika says:

I’m the type that cries all the time. :P Good stuff, bad stuff, happy stuff, sad stuff, beautiful stuff. I also believe it’s healing though it can be slightly embarrassing if you find yourself say crying more at a child’s baptism than their parents for example. :D And I can say that the hormones of pregnancy, breast feeding and being a mom in general makes is 10 times “worse”. People who don’t normally cry a lot can find themselves balling their eyes out to even the cheesiest romantic movie, so just imagine me… :P

Amanda says:

I also think that I spend way too much time thinking positive. I’m not an inborn positive thinker and have made great effort to be one throughout the years. I often told myself, I have to be positive and don’t let tears set in. Sometimes, it can be emotionally painful, because you just have to be negative at times to be “balanced.” Well, but it’s easier said than done. I’ve never given myself the luxury of a massive cry over the years.

Kenny says:

How interesting. I’ve always loved having a good blowout, and now I have a reason for it! Hahaha… thanks Jess!