Why crying is good for us – it can flush out stress and regulate emotion

When was the last time you had a good blub? Whether you break down in tears regularly or you only weep when things get really tough, experts agree that crying is actually good for you.

“Crying has a self-soothing effect, helping us regulate our emotions and feel a greater sense of calm,” explains Dr Elena Touroni, consultant psychologist and co-founder of The Chelsea Psychology Clinic. “We also release cortisol and adrenaline when we cry, which is the body’s way of flushing out any excess stress hormones.”

And with one in four of us experiencing mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, there’s never been a better time to grab a box of tissues and sob your heart out.

So here’s everything you need to know about having a bawl…

How much is too much?

If you cry at films or the mere mention of a sad book you read years ago, there’s nothing wrong with you, says Eve. “But sometimes it’s a sign that we need to make changes in our lives,” she adds. “Ask yourself what you need. It might be that the idea of therapy or seeing your GP is scary but if you’re open to support, it can be helpful.

“You might simply need to be gentler on yourself. Take time and space to sit with your feelings – journal them or maybe dance them out. Whatever feels best for you.”

Get exclusive celebrity and real life stories straight to your inbox with OK!'s daily newsletter . You can sign up at the top of the page.

What are the benefits of letting it out?

Expressing ourselves with tears can help us in all areas of life, according to Eve Menezes Cunningham, the author of 365 Ways To Feel Better and a trauma therapist at selfcarecoaching.net. “By letting ourselves feel rage and heartache, and tear-inducing feelings, we’re also opening ourselves up to the joy, wonder and love of life,” she says. “The full emotional landscape helps make life feel richer.

“It takes vulnerability to show your feelings and while it can be scary, it’s also incredibly healing to let ourselves be comforted by others, whether after a trauma or simply feeling moved by a sad song.”

A “crying room” opened recently in Spanish capital Madrid. The first of its kind, La Lloreria aims to break down the stigmas surrounding crying and mental health issues.

The room features inspiring artwork and telephone access to psychologists.

“If we had something similar in this country, then at the very least it would highlight the importance of being in touch with your emotions and seeing this as something positive,” says Dr Touroni.

Are no tears a bad thing?

If you remain dry-eyed at even the saddest of times, you may be repressing your emotions. “The stiff-upper-lip approach does us no favours in the long-term,” says Dr Touroni. “When we stuff our emotions down, they inevitably end up reappearing elsewhere further down the line.”

And if you’re feeling like you need to cry but can’t, for whatever reason, just remember that’s OK, adds Eve. She says, “You might find listening to sad songs or watching tearjerker movies helpful or you just want to simply give yourself a mental hug and know you don’t need to be openly upset in order to give yourself any extra support you could benefit from.”

‘I cry at everything and it makes me feel great’

Emma Brooks, 27, a PR manager from Leicester, is a firm believer in just letting it all out

“I used to bottle up my emotions but when I struggled with my mental health at university I had some counselling sessions which really helped. Ever since then, I’ve worn my heart on my sleeve.

“I tend to cry most when I’m overwhelmed or frustrated, but I also like a good weep at a movie.

“My biggest recent trigger was driving lessons. I had such extreme anxiety that my instructor had special ‘Emma tissues’ in her car ready for my tears. Amazingly, I passed first time.

“I feel great after a cry. My anxiety lowers and I’m much calmer. Sometimes I like to be left alone to cry, other times there’s nothing better than a big hug.

“In certain situations I try to hide my tears, such as frustration at work. I do think there’s still a taboo about crying in the workplace and I’ve often gone to the toilet to have a little cry in private for fear of appearing unprofessional.

“Having said that, I’m now in a work environment where mental health is very much a spoken topic and I don’t feel that pressure to ‘hold it together’.

“It’s so important to be able to communicate your feelings. If having a little cry clears your head and makes it easier to tackle a difficult situation, how could that ever be a bad thing?”

Did you know?

Tears contain lysozyme, a powerful antibacterial chemical that helps ght infection – so when we cry, we’re protecting our eyes from bacteria and irritants.

Nine out of ten people say they feel better after a good cry

Source: Read Full Article