7 Reasons It’s OK to Cry Your Eyes Out
Crying is our emotional connection with the world. This simple act is often seen as a weakness when it actually demonstrates the strength in us. It allows us to celebrate the positive and helps us to let go of the negative things in our lives.
There are three types of tears:
- Continuous tears that keep the surface around the eye moist in order to protect against infection.
- Reflex tears that flow when something irritates the eye area.
- Emotional tears that have a different chemical make-up and can be a natural painkiller.
Regardless of the type of tears you are shedding, crying is a natural reaction of our body and one that promotes a healthier mind.
Here are seven reasons why it is perfectly okay to cry:
1. Tears help you let go and move on.
Pretending everything is okay doesn’t solve anything, and all it does is lead to a wealth of pent-up emotions. A good cry is a great way to release the need to hold onto something that is no longer of service. Carrying around emotional baggage can affect your mental health so cry and let it out.
2. Tears have numerous health benefits.
Crying releases toxins and kills bacteria. It is our body’s natural defense mechanism against all those pesky germs found in common public places. Our body is designed to protect us and will take any necessary measure to prevent bacteria from getting in. It also works to get rid of foreign elements, so remember that next time you try to stop the tears.
3. Tears help release high levels of stress.
Crying “is believed to release stress hormones or toxins from the body,” says Lauren Bylsma, a PhD student at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Crying is a function of the parasympathetic nervous system that is responsible for relaxation. When you cry, you are likely releasing stress as your body begins to relax. That is why a good cry feels so good.
4. Tears help process grief and loss.
“To weep is to make less the depth of grief.” – William Shakespeare
Losing someone or something that is important is tragic. It is a feeling that engulfs you to the point that the only relief happens through tears and a good hug from a close friend.
We often hold back our tears to make it easy for others, but that is not the best approach for us. Don’t pretend to be strong just to make others feel more comfortable.
Instead, focus on what you need to get through that moment. Crying can be comforting, and your tears become your best friend as you work through your loss.
5. Tears help someone who is depressed feel better.
Crying is scientifically proven to make you feel better. It’s rare that crying will make you feel worse than what prompted you to cry in the first place. It is a release of pent-up energy and emotions.
Crying helps to regulate the highs and lows of emotional extremes. Tears are important in helping to get out of moments of intense feeling without injury. Crying, especially when feeling down, shouldn’t embarrass you. Instead, it says you are learning to manage your mental health.
6. Tears are a sign of strength.
Crying is a sign of strength regardless of what society says. It takes strength to show vulnerability. So stop worrying about what others think and cry if you want to.
“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.” ~ Washington Irving
7. Tears help you feel when you don’t know how you feel.
Have you ever just cried because you didn’t know what to do or how to feel? Sometimes life gets to be too much. It’s hard to stay composed when the next step isn’t clear, and the thought of figuring it out is a bit overwhelming.
A good cry might just be the ticket. It releases stress, makes us feel better and can help foster creative thinking. After feeling the release crying brings, it’s common to experience more energy and new ideas about how to tackle the challenges we face.
Editor’s note: the late Dr. David Hawkins, in his book Power vs Force, mentions that crying is a great sign that his patients had moved from the realm of apathy into grieving – which was more powerful and a sign of healing.