In my experience, most people dislike crying. I cannot tell you how many people, both in my personal and professional life, oftentimes exclaim, “I HATE CRYING!” just before, during, or after letting some tears slide.

But what if I told you that crying is actually good – like, more than just “let it out, its good to let it out” good. As in, crying serves a biological, regulatory purpose – just like sweating, urinating, and other natural bodily functions. Would we hate it as much then? So, let’s wipe away the stigma surrounding crying, and discover the science-backed reasons why we need to embrace it.

The Many Faces of Tears

Before we explore all of the benefits of shedding tears, let’s understand the different types of tears our bodies produce. Tears come in three main varieties: basal, reflex, and emotional tears.

  • Basal Tears: These are the unsung heroes of your eyes. They keep your peepers moist, nourished, and protected from dust and debris. They’re like the steady background music in your life – always there, but maybe you forget to notice.
  • Reflex Tears: When something irritates your eyes—like chopping onions or getting dust in them—your body springs into action with reflex tears. These tears are like the body’s fire alarm, designed to flush out irritants and protect your delicate eyes.
  • Emotional Tears: Ah, here’s where the magic happens. Emotional tears are the ones we usually think of when we talk about crying. They well up when you’re overwhelmed by strong emotions, be it happiness, sadness, stress, anger, or even relief. They’re your body’s way of processing and communicating feelings.

The Value of Emotional Tears

Now, let’s explore why those emotional tears are worth celebrating:

  1. Stress Relief: Have you ever noticed how you sometimes feel lighter after a good cry? Or, maybe you feel tired? That’s because emotional tears contain higher levels of stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) and toxins. Shedding them literally helps your body detoxify, reducing stress and promoting relaxation.
  2. Mood EnhancementResearch has found that crying triggers the release of oxytocin and endogenous opioids – aka endorphins, your body’s natural feel-good chemicals. So, don’t be surprised if you feel a sense of relief and even a mood boost after a good cry.
  3. Emotional Processing: Crying can also be your body’s way of processing complex emotions. It’s like hitting the reset button on your emotional well-being, allowing you to better understand and cope with what’s bothering you.
  4. Bonding: Sometimes sharing a good cry with someone can strengthen your emotional connections. It fosters empathy, vulnerability, and communication, allowing you to connect on a deeper level with friends and loved ones.
  5. Pain Relief: Believe it or not, crying can actually reduce physical pain. The endorphins released during a good cry act as natural painkillers. So, it’s not just emotional pain that benefits from a few tears.

Why We Often “Hate Crying”

Despite all these fantastic benefits, many of us still cringe at the thought of crying. Why is that? Well, society has a knack for stigmatizing tears, associating them with weakness or vulnerability, the latter of which society also has a knack for stigmatizing. Plus, let’s face it; no one enjoys the puffy eyes and runny nose that often accompany a good sob.

But here’s the catch: suppressing your tears can be more harmful than letting them flow. When you bottle up your emotions, they don’t just disappear; they can fester, leading to increased stress, anxiety, and even physical health issues.

So, if you find yourself fighting back tears, remember that it’s perfectly normal to cry. It’s not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of your humanity, and your body trying to do its job to rid you of toxins and release endorphins.

Embrace the Healing Power of Tears

Now that we’ve established the merits of crying, let’s encourage you to embrace this natural release valve for your emotions. And what better way to do that than by seeking the guidance of a therapist? A therapist in North Carolina can offer a lot when it comes to processing difficult situations and exploring emotions.

A few benefits a therapist in North Carolina can offer:

  • Safer Space: Therapists can provide a safer, judgment-free space where you can freely express your emotions, including tears. Therapists are trained to help you explore and understand your feelings, leading to healthier emotional processing.
  • Tools and Coping Strategies: Therapists can help you to learn and use valuable tools and coping strategies to manage stress, anxiety, and other emotional challenges. These skills can be a game-changer in your life.
  • Personalized Support: Therapy is not one-size-fits-all. A therapist tailors their approach to your unique needs, ensuring you receive the support that’s right for you. That Is why finding the right therapist for you is so important. Check out our blog on How To Find The Best Therapist For You to learn more!
  • Validation: Sometimes, all you need is someone to acknowledge your feelings and experiences. Therapists offer validation and empathy, making you feel heard and understood.

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Dr. Bate leads several therapy groups, which may be accepting clients. As a PSYPACT provider, Dr. Bate can service clients in over 30 states and jurisdictions. Authority to Practice Interjurisdictional Telepsychology (APIT) under the PSYPACT* Commission E. Passport issued 2/11/21 Mobility Number # 6459. Specialty areas: Queer and/or gender diverse folx, couples/relationships, and families. Trauma, PTSD, grief, bereavement, loss. Substance use/substance misuse, addictions. Relationship stressors and communication issues. Student-athlete stress. Court-ordered therapy and sex offender treatment. Mental health evaluations in the context of high-conflict divorce. Criminal and Civil Forensic Assessment. Email: [email protected] to schedule your free consult or request an appointment here. I help people who feel stuck, numb, or who are gripped by grief, loss, and unresolved trauma experience deeper, more fulfilling relationships and life outcomes. I assist people and families working through addiction find a path towards wellness. I work with individuals who may feel lost, scared, or alone to better understand their gender identity, sexual, relational, and romantic orientations. I also help intimate partners and families understand each other and communicate more effectively, including about matters of identity.

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