Life is a challenge and we make it harder on ourselves when we push away “negative” emotions, like sadness and disappointment. We guilt ourselves into believing that not being positive, happy, and completely fulfilled all the time means we are the problem.
We keep moving faster and faster to keep those demons at bay. Modern technology and the increasingly fast pace of life makes it easier to distract ourselves from unwanted feeling or engaging with emotions that might makes us cry.
While it is true that endlessly crying over spilled milk and never cleaning it up is going to leave a rotten mess, crying and taking care of business are not mutually exclusive actions. You can clean up that milk AND cry over the fact that your effort to go out and buy that organic, local whole milk for the yummy hot choco you had planned was wasted, and that just made you sad.
So what if instead of feeling guilty or embarrassed to cry, instead of participating in that negative spiral of shame, what if you create a new narrative and build a new framework to live by? If we pause and let our emotions catch up to us, we might just realize what we need is a good cry.
Take the radical step to realizing that crying is not only normal, but it also has a plethora of benefits, below are three surprising reasons why having a good cry can be really good for you.
1. Sometimes living in the moment means pausing to acknowledge your emotions and cry. This promotes accountability and optimism.
Society today is slowly shifting, but being a workaholic is still praised and seen as a standard of excellence. Since time to pause and create space to engage with your emotions is rarely penciled into your schedule for you, it takes personal will power and courage to create time to pause.
Pausing to cry allows your body to decompress and rest so that you cry on your own terms rather than waiting to "snap" in inopportune moments, when crying will feel uncontrollable and unbearable. Giving yourself permission to cry helps you live in the moment and engage with your feelings.
Creating accountability for your self-care invites you to step out of your comfort zone and be more open to emotional vulnerability, which is linked to positive traits such as optimism, goal setting, action initiation, and motivation maintenance.
2. Crying strengthens the mind and body connection, which encourages healthy communication and stress management.
While babies are given permission to cry and express their emotions from an early age, we get uncomfortable with tears and tell children to "get it together" and stop crying. We learned this from a young age as well. We repeat the pattern and belief that our words can express everything we feel.
Rarely do we stop and question why we need to cry if we can rationally state we just want more food, love, etc. From such an early age, we start to disconnect the mind and the body, and favor the mind’s reaction to situations. We shame the body for wanting a physical response.
By crying, we increase the ability for our mind and body to talk. Remember, it is likely you are opening channels of communications that have not been used for years, and it takes time to get to know yourself and have a comfortable connection.
Instead of overeating, heavy drinking, or other forms of sensory diversion that distract and numb the body, we nourish the mind and body connection and empower our mind to respect our body’s needs by crying. This open communication work helps you feel lighter, calmer, and increases focus, as well as helps you keep a level head to tackle stressful situations with grace and ease.
3. Crying is cathartic, as well as a workout, which could reduce incidences of tension headaches and promote creative thinking.
While not often associated with strength building and muscle toning, crying does release tension held in the eyes, face, neck and shoulders as well as utilizes the diaphragm, abdominal muscles, and lungs. Because crying requires the muscles in the face and neck to engage and release, it acts like a progressive muscle relaxation workout that builds tension then releases it.
Tension accumulates from stress, as well as increased screen time on digital devices. It is a healthy cleanse for the eyes and offers space for new perspectives and ways of looking at the world. Since crying releases tension built up in the body and aids in breathing, it may aid in digestion, reduce tension headaches, and strengthen the core and chest.
Imagine how your life could be different—in a year, 10 years, or even in your lifetime—if you gave yourself permission to feel? When was the last time you had a good cry? What was that experience like for you? Please share below!
Image credit: Mandy Martini