Thursday, October 26, 2017

Will Crying Help Stress?

Crying is generally thought of as a sign of weakness and to be avoided in public at all costs. It is socially acceptable to cry at hearing good news. Yet, when someone cries at bad news or even difficulty, people comment, "Oh he/she is taking it really hard. I hope they will be okay."

Crying is really beneficial. It is thought of as self soothing behavior that causes the body to release hormones like oxytocin and endorphins. After a good cry, people feel less stressed and have a reduction of pain. There is a physiological benefit to crying.

Stifling the urge to cry hurts someone both emotionally and physically. They are denying the strong emotions that they feel. These emotions need to be released or processed. Otherwise, they remain as stress in the body and alter our body's ability to function well. High levels of cortisol (the body's stress hormone) in the body hurts digestion, the body's ability to sleep and causes inflammation and pain. A simple cry allows the emotions to process and releases hormones that stabilize the body's hormones and function.

Maybe if people focused on the benefits of crying, it wouldn't be judged as a weakness. In crying people are revealing how strongly they feel about a certain situation. Initially, these people appear weak. I think there is a certain courage in showing how one really feels. There is a benefit to dealing with the powerful emotion and looking to move forward. The crying begins the process.

It is also important to note that not everyone reacts the same emotionally. Some people do have a thicker skin so to speak and are less reactive in certain situations. In Ayurveda, there are three basic body types (doshas) and they have different emotional reactions. Kapha is more stoic. Vata will cry easier, and pitta can wait to cry longer than a vata type, but their tears will release a mix of anger, frustration and sadness. Pittas are the type that need to learn that crying is good for them.

So, yes, a good cry will help stress.

Stay healthy & well,

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