It may start with a sharp lump in your throat, followed by a little wobble of your chin. Next your eyes are feeling moist and you’re blinking hard in an effort to hold back the tears. But your effort to not cry makes your chin wobble even more, and the next thing you know the tears are flowing, the lump in your throat is melting, and your nose is running. You are now in full sob mode. You grab the box of Kleenex and succumb to the weeping.
When was the last time you had a good cry? If you are not in a chronically depressed mood, crying once in a while can be very cathartic and healing so it’s actually better for your health to allow yourself to cry.
Are you sometimes in the mood to watch a sad movie or listen to some sad music? Do you wonder why you are seeking out opportunities to feel sad? Movies and music can help us get in touch with the sadness within ourselves, allow ourselves to feel it, and then let some of that sadness go. The calm after the storm can then set in, and we often feel that the sadness is diminished and that there is now room in our minds and bodies for happier emotions.
Neuroscientist and tear researcher Dr. William H. Frey IIhas spent over 15 years studying crying and tears. Some interesting facts about crying that his research uncovered are:
- 85% of women and 73% of men felt less sad and angry after crying.
- On average, women cry 47 times a year, men cry 7 times a year. (WOW!)
- Crying bouts last 6 minutes on average.
- Crying has been found to lower blood pressure and pulse rate immediately following therapy sessions during which patients cried and raged.
To make the most of a good cry and really reap the benefits, it is important to remember that you have to be kind and compassionate with yourself after the crying jag. If you beat yourself up about crying, feel guilty, or use negative self-talk and tell yourself things like “I’m such a loser for crying” or “Guys shouldn’t cry”, you will undo all the healing that your sobfest can bring you.
So, go ahead and cry it out. And then you can proudly say to yourself “Well done! That was a good cry and I feel a lot better now!”
By Polly Guetta