Is crying good for you? Harvard Health Blog


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It’s safe to say that 2020 has given us more than enough to cry on. But even before last year, we seemed to be crying a lot. The researchers suggest that American women cry an average of 3.5 times per month, while American men cry 1.9 times per month. These numbers may surprise some of us, especially since crying – especially by men – is often viewed by our society as a sign of weakness and emotional lack of stamina.

The health benefits of crying

As a phenomenon unique to humans, crying is a natural response to a range of emotions, from deep sadness and sadness to excessive happiness and joy. But is crying good for your health? The answer appears to be yes. The medical benefits of crying have long been known as the classical era. Thinkers and physicians in ancient Greece and Rome assumed that tears acted as a laxative, draining and purifying us. Psychological thinking today is largely in agreement, with the emphasis on crying as a mechanism that allows us to do so Get rid of stress and emotional pain.

Crying is an important safety valve, largely because keeping difficult emotions inside – what psychologists call oppressive adaptation – can be harmful to our health. studies They linked the suppressive acclimatization to a less resilient immune system, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure, as well as with Mental health conditions, Including stress, anxiety and depression. It also turns out that crying increases Attachment behavior, And encourage closeness, compassion, and support from friends and family.

Not all tears are created equal

Scientists divide the liquid product of crying into three distinct categories: reflexive tears, persistent tears, and emotional tears. The first two classes perform the important job of removing debris like smoke and dust from our eyes, and lubricating our eyes to help protect them from infection. Its content is 98% water.

It’s the third category, emotional tears (which flush out stress hormones and other toxins from our system), which is likely to offer the most health benefits. Researchers have proven that crying releases endogenous oxytocin and opioids, also known as endorphins. These relaxing chemicals help relieve physical and emotional pain. Popular culture, for its part, has always known the value of a good cry as a way to feel better – and maybe even to experience physical pleasure. Millions of people have watched classic tearjerker movies like West Side Story or Titanic (Among other things) is likely to testify to this fact.

Rethink crying in boys and men

“I know a man is not supposed to cry,” the lyrics of a folk song say, “But these tears I cannot bear inside.” These words succinctly sum up many of the man’s dilemmas around emotional expression. From early on, boys were told that real men don’t cry. As these boys grow up, they may fill their feelings deeply and withdraw emotionally from loved ones, deal with themselves with alcohol or drugs, or even become suicidal. So many men need to learn the skills of how to reconnect with their feelings. In the 1990s, poet Robert Bly led seminars for men during which he taught participants how to relate to their long-buried feelings of sadness and loss, and openly cry if they needed to. Ideally, however, such education should start early, at home or in school, with adults getting the boys to talk about difficult feelings.

Crying during COVID

As of this writing, the nation has recorded more than 500,000 deaths from COVID-19. The collective grief over these losses can only be described as shocking. It’s no surprise, then, that our feelings at times like these are even closer to the surface, and many people who previously were not prone to crying find themselves tearing up more easily. In fact, as one medical professional said, Show emotions in public places Perhaps it has become a new normal.

When are tears a problem?

There are times when crying can be a sign of a problem, especially if it happens often and / or for no apparent reason, or when the crying begins to affect daily activities or becomes out of control. Conversely, people with certain types of clinical depression may actually suffer Not They are able to cry, even when they feel like it. In any of these cases, it would be best to see a professional who can help diagnose the problem and suggest appropriate treatment.

Ready meals

As difficult as it may be, the best way to deal with difficult emotions, including sadness and grief, is to embrace them. It is important to allow yourself to cry if you feel like this. Make sure to spend the time and find a safe place to cry if you need to. Many people associate crying while grieving with depression, when in fact it can be a sign of recovery. Teaching boys and teens that there is nothing wrong with crying may reduce negative health behaviors and help them lead a fuller life.

If the crying becomes overwhelming or uncontrollable, see a doctor or mental health professional for evaluation and treatment.

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