Fredda Branyon has dedicated her life to the advancement of complementary medicine.
Crying is not a sign of weakness or frailness. Research shows that crying benefits the mind and body in many ways.
We as people have become so obsessed with exuding strength and courage that crying has become a sign of weakness, especially among men. However, despite Fergie and The Cure's hit songs about how big girls and boys don't cry, scientific studies show that crying benefits people in many ways.
The Health Benefits of Crying
Sandy, the male nanny from Friends, was right all along. Go and let the boo-hoos out because crying can affect your physical and mental health in the following ways:
Crying Soothes You
Your boyfriend, girlfriend, fiancé, or spouse breaks up with you out of the blue. Your heart races, you begin panicking, and you keep asking yourself why and where things went wrong. Have you ever been in a situation like that? Or perhaps, you experienced a scenario wherein your heart was racing due to immense pain and frustration? Try to recall how you felt and how you reacted to that memory. Do you remember crying? Because if you did, have you noticed how much calmer you felt after shedding some tears?
A 2014 study found that crying may provide self-soothing effects, including regulating emotions, reducing feelings of distress, and calming a troubled mind. According to the researchers, crying stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which plays a significant role in helping people feel relaxed. It may not offer permanent relief, but it may help you calm down a little.
Shedding emotional tears for prolonged periods of time releases endorphins. These chemicals, which the nervous system produces naturally, spur a positive feeling in the body. They may also relieve physical and emotional pain, as the body may enter somewhat of a "numb stage" after releasing a rush of endorphins.
Feeling down and defeated? Crying your heart out may help lift your spirits. Aside from relieving and dulling pain, one of the positive emotions that endorphins trigger is happiness. Researchers from Yale University also believed that crying may help restore emotional equilibrium. Therefore, if you cry it out, your mood may improve as a result of releasing the negative emotions bottled up inside you.
Promotes Better Sleep
Quality sleep is essential to maintaining a healthy mind and body.
A 2015 study found that crying helps babies sleep soundly. However, it may be the self-soothing, pain-relieving, and mood-enhancing benefits of crying that help babies fall asleep faster.
On a different note, feeling tired and fatigued is a common side of vigorous crying. The level of weariness that causes people to feel sleepy likely depends on how strenuously they wept. For instance, excessive crying could take a physical and emotional toll on you. As a result, you may feel drained and drowsy after crying.
The Bottom Line
Crying is a normal human response to a wide range of emotions, including sadness, anger, and even happiness, among others. Letting go and allowing our tears to flow has many physical and mental health benefits, including self-soothing effects and pain relief.
However, crying too often, without control, or for no reason could signal depression. In this case, it is recommended to speak to a mental health professional.
Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on September 29, 2020:
Well narrated. Interesting article.